Gaeltacht Bill 2012: Committee Stage

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 6, subsection (2), lines 16 to 20, to delete all words from and including "Act," in line 16 down to and including "provisions" in line 20 and substitute the following:

"Act comes into operation six months following the day the Act is passed".

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Aire Stáit agus leis an Roinn mar gheall gur cuireadh siar Céim an Choiste den Bhille toisc go raibh go leor leasuithe le cur. Mar is léir ón liosta leasuithe, bhí cuid mhaith rudaí le plé againn maidir leis an mBille seo. Bhí sé tábhachtach go dtabharfar am faoi leith do Chéim an Choiste. Tuigim go raibh fuinneamh ar leith ann in óráid an Aire Stáit ar an Dara Céim den Bhille agus molaim sin ach tá riar maith bunfhadhbanna leis an mBille agus sin atáimid ag iarraidh a phlé ar an Chéim seo go háirithe. Rachaimid tríothu de réir a chéile.

Molaim an chéad leasú seo in alt 1(2), na focail go léir ó"seo," síos go dtí"éagsúla.", agus na focail sin san áireamh, a scriosadh agus "seo i ngníomh sé mhí tar éis an lae a rithfear an tAcht." a chur ina n-ionad. Tá sé tábhachtach go gcuirfear teorainn ama leis an gcuid seo den Bhille. Cuid den imní atá orainn ná cé chomh scaoilte agus atá an Bille seo agus an méid cumhachta atá sé ag fágáil i lámha an Aire. Ní haon locht pearsanta é sin ar an bhfear atá sa chathaoir i láthair na huaire, ba chuma cé a bheidh ann mar Aire, nó ba chuma cén páirtí as a dtiocfadh sé, an iomarca cumhachta a fhágáil i lámha Aire ar bith. Seo ceann de na rudaí anseo chomh maith céanna, go bhfuilimid den tuairim go bhfuil sé tábhachtach go gcuirfear teorainn ama, go háirithe i gcomhthéacs an staidéir chuimsithigh teangeolaíochta atá déanta maidir le húsáid na Gaeilge sa Ghaeltacht.

Níl an t-aistriúchán ag obair.

Tá sé ag obair ar an taobh seo.

It is operating as a broadcast rather than a translation.

We will suspend for five minutes.

Sitting suspended at 2.10 p.m. and resumed at 2.15 p.m.

Ní dhéanfaidh mé athrá ar an méid a dúirt mé. Fáiltím roimh an tacaíocht theicniúil ansin. Gan dabht tá sé fíorthábhachtach go mbeadh an córas aistriúcháin sa Teach ag feidhmiú agus molaim na Seanadóirí a bhíonn ag úsáid an chórais sin agus molaim na haistritheoirí agus lucht teicniúla a chuireann ar fáil é.

Bhí mé ag moladh go gcuirfear teorainn ama leis an am a gcuirfear an tAcht i bhfeidhm ann mar tá imní orm go bhfágtar an iomarca cumhachta i lámha an Aire. Níl an tAire féin go pearsanta i gceist agam, déarfainn an rud céanna dá mbeadh Aire de chuid Sinn Féin ann. Is féidir an tAcht seo a chur i gcrích de réir mar a fheileann don Aire ag aon am is maith leis. Táimid ag moladh go gcuirfear seo i ngníomh sé mhí tar éis an lae a rithfear an tAcht.

Tá ceist amháin agam: an bhfuil teorainn ama ar intinn ag an Aire féin? Níos lú nó níos mó na sé mhí?

Tá jab mór á dheanamh againn anseo. Beidh 19 ceantar pleanála Gaeltachta againn ar fud na tíre, gan trácht ar na líonraí taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht. Táimid ag fanacht leis an mBille seo le fada agus ag ullmhú don Bhille le blianta. Bhí brú mór ag teacht orainn ó na meáin agus ó Theachtaí agus Sheanadóirí faoi chén uair a bheadh an Bille ag dul tríd an Teach. Tááthas orm go bfuair na Seanadóirí deis cúpla lá a fháil chun a gcuid moltaí agus leasuithe a chur isteach. Cuirim fáilte roimh sin. Cuirim fáilte freisin roimh an suim atá léirithe ag an Teach seo sa Bhille, go bhfuil breis agus 100 leasú istigh. Tabharfaidh sin deis dúinn é seo a phlé go maith agus go mion.

Maidir liomsa, níl aon fhonn orm mar Aire Stáit aon mhoill ró-mhór a chur ar seo. Dúradh sa straitéis agus sa tsuirbhé teangeolaíochta go bhfuil géarghá leis an mBille a thabhairt isteach. Ach mar sin féin, aithním go bhfuil obair mhór ann. Ba mhaith liom go rachadh sé tríd an Teach an-luath, ach níl mé ag iarraidh mé féin nó an Roinn a cheangal síos. Nuair a bheidh an Bille tríd an Teach, beidh rialacháin á thabhairt isteach. Tá sin luaite i dtús an Bhille. Beidh mé ag tabhairt isteach na rialacháin chuí chun na rudaí seo a chur i bhfeidhm agus glacfaidh sé sin tamall. Níl aon mhoilleadóireacht i gceist agam. B'fhéidir go mbeidh sé déanta taobh istigh de dhá bhliain nó taobh istigh de bhliain. Níl méábalta sin a insint do na Seanadóirí ag an am seo, ach is féidir liom m'fhocal a thabhairt nach gcuirfidh muid aon mhoill air. Níl mé ag iarraidh mé féin ná an Roinn a cheangal taobh istigh de theorainn ama, ach nílim ag úsáid sin mar bhealach éalaithe chun fáil amach ó theorainn ama. Caithfimid a bheith praiticiúil agus réadúil. Déanfaidh muid é chomh luath agus is féidir. Mar sin, ní féidir liom glacadh le teorann ama de chineál ar bith, ach déarfaidh mé arís nach bhfuil aon mhoilleadóireacht i gceist.

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Aire Stáit as an soiléiriú sin. Ach an oiread leis an Aire Stáit, sílim go raibh sé tábhachtach gur cuireadh an t-am breise ar fáil le haghaidh Céim an Choiste. Seo an Bille is tábhachtaí do mhuintir na Gaeltachta a bhí ann le 56 bliain agus sin an fáth go bhfuil an oiread sin leasuithe istigh. Glacaim leis an méid atá ráite ag an Aire Stáit. Tuigim go bhfuil géarghá go mbrúimid an rud seo ar aghaidh. Glacfaidh mé le focal an Aire Stáit agus táim sásta go leor lena fhreagra. Is féidir linn bogadh ar aghaidh mar sin agus ní bhrúimid an leasúáirithe seo.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 1 agreed to.
SECTION 2

Amendments Nos. 2, 3 and 110 are related and will be discussed together.

Ar phointe oird, ní bhfuair mise liosta de na groupings ar chor ar bith, cé gur sheiceáil mé mo ríomhphoist.

Tá siad ar fáil anois agus tá súil agam go bhfuil an Seanadóir sásta iad a thógáil le chéile.

I move amendment No. 2:

In page 6, line 22, after "Gaeltacht" to insert "in this State".

Ceist í seo a théann go dtí croi an scéil ó thaobh na ceiste náisiúnta de. Táimid ag iarraidh go dtabharfaí aitheantas go bhfuil an dá dlínse i gceist agus go bhfuil Aire Cultúir, Ealaíon agus Fóillíochta ó Thuaidh agus go bhfuil Aire anseo chomh maith. Táimid ag iarraidh go mbeidh an Bille soiléir nuair a luaitear an tAire atá i gceist. Tá sé i gceist againn, i líne 22 "in this State" a chur isteach i ndiaidh "Gaeltacht". Tá an tír seo fós roinnte. Tá muidne i Sinn Féin ag iarraidh go mbeadh Poblacht 32 contae againn, ach, faraoir, níl sin againn. Nílimid sásta leis an dul chun cinn atáá dhéanamh ag an Rialtas maidir leis na cruinnithe parlaiminteacha leis an Bhreatain Mhór le go mbrúifí an cheist i dtaobh aontú na tíre chun cinn. Chuir an ráiteas a rinneadh aréir sa Teach seo agus sna meáin ag Cathaoirleach Páirtí an Lucht Oibre, maidir leis an seasamh agus an gceist faoin 32 contae agus Poblacht uile-Éireann a bheith againn, an-díomá orm.

Mar sin, táimid ag iarraidh a shoiléiriú go gciallaíonn "an tAire" sa chás seo, an tAire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta sa Stát seo, sna 26 contae, mar tá Aire Cultúir, Ealaíon agus Fóillíochta againn ó Thuaidh. Mar a tharlaíonn sé, is Aire de chuid Shinn Féin atá sa chathaoir sin i láthair na huaire. Tá seo tábhachtach sa chomhthéacs go gcaithfimid a bheith soiléir cén Aire atá i gceist againn insan Acht, mar go bhfuil foras teanga i bhfeidhm agus go mbíonn dhá Aire i gceist sa chás sin agus mar go bhfuil an rialú agus an stiúradh atáá thabhairt do Fhoras na Gaeilge agus don Fhoras Teanga idir dhá Aire, an tAire Cultúir, Ealaíon agus Fóillíochta, Caral Ní Chuilín agus an tAire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta sa taobh seo. Sin an fáth go bhfuil muid ag iarraidh go ndéanfar an leasú beag seo. Molaimid don Aire é a ghlacadh le haghaidh soiléireachta a thabhairt. De bharr go bhfuil caint níos deireannaí sa Bhille ar an Aire Ní Chuilín, ba chóir go dtógfaí sin san áireamh.

Sílim go bhfuil dhá rud i gceist anseo agus is é an chéad cheann ná An Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge. Baineann an straitéis leis an Stát seo ina bhfuil muid inár gcónaí, cé má thugann duine an Phoblacht uirthi nó ainm eile. Ní théann an straitéis isteach i ndlínse eile — sin Tuaisceart na hÉireann. Mar sin, chomh fada agus a bhaineann sé leis an bhforas, is é an dualgas a bheidh air ná an straitéis 20 bliain a threorú sna ceantair taobh amuigh de na ceantair Ghaeltachta sa Stát seo. Maidir le Tuaisceart Éireann — tá aithne pearsanta agam ar an Aire Ní Chuilín agus bíonn cruinnithe againn go rialta ar bhonn oifigiúil — tuigeann an tAire ansin céard atáá dhéanamh againn agus go mbaineann sé seo leis an dlínse ó Dheas. Maidir leis an Tuaisceart, tá a bpolasaithe féin acu. Tá Foras na Gaeilge ansiúd sa Tuaisceart ag tabhairt tacaíochta don pholasaí atá acu. Bhí mé i mBéal Feirste roinnt míosa ó shin nuair a d'fhógair an tAire scéim úr, scéím a chuaigh i bhfeidhm orm féin, Líofa. An cuspóir atá leis an scéim sin ná 1,000 duine a fháil i dTuaisceart Éireann a mbeidh sásta an Ghaeilge a fhoghlaim agus a labhairt. Bhí mé ag caint leis an Aire coicís ó shin agus chuir mé ceist uirthi faoi cé mar atá an scéim Líofa ag dul ar aghaidh agus dúirt sí liom go bhfuil breis agus 2,000 duine tar éis síneadh suas, cuid acu fiú sna póilíní sa Tuaisceart. Tuigeann muid cad atá ag dul ar aghaidh thuas ansin agus tuigeann an tAire agus an Foras céard atá le déanamh anseo. Mar sin, chomh fada agus a bhaineann sé leis an straitéis 20 bliain, is orainn atá an fhreagracht. Sin an fáth nach féidir liom glacadh leis an moladh seo.

Dála an scéil, maidir lena ndúirt an Seanadóir maidir le aontú na tíre, ní shílim go bhfuil mórán daoine anseo nach n-aontódh leis. B'fhéidir nach ndéarfadh muid gur Poblachtánaigh muid, ach ní hionann sin agus a rá nach n-aontaíonn muid le aontú na tíre. Ach seo an rud atá indéanta agus atá praiticiúil ag an bpointe seo.

Aontaím leis an Aire Stáit. Caithfimid tabhairt faoi deara go bhfuil Foras na Gaeilge faoi chumhacht an Chomhairle Aireachta Thuaidh-Theas agus go bhfuil an t-údarás agus araile faoi chumhacht an Aire anseo. Mar adúirt an tAire Stáit, tá an straitéis 20 bliain againn anseo, ach níl straitéis fós ó Thuaidh. Caithfimid a dhéanamh cinnte de freisin go mbeidh cumhacht ag an údarás anseo agus aird a thabhairt go mbeidh an foras freagrach don Chomhairle Aireachta Thuaidh-Theas. Ba cheart é sin a choinneáil inár meabhair.

I agree with the Minister of State that it is important to cherish Constable Peadar Heffron, a Gaelic-speaking member of the PSNI who is currently recovering from injuries he suffered as a result of an attack by paramilitary elements.

I support amendment No. 2 because it draws attention to what I believe to be a defect in the Bill. There are aspects of the legislation which relate to the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the human rights of those who speak minority languages and a number of international treaties which the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and his predecessors negotiated on behalf of the country. I have received more correspondence in respect of the Bill than I have on any other issue since becoming a Member of the House. In that context, there is an amount of concern with regard to the removal of voting rights from people who live in Gaeltacht areas. On Second Stage, the Minister of State said that, as a result of the decision of the then Government in May 2001 to retain the existing status of Údarás na Gaeltachta, a regulatory impact assessment is not needed in respect of the legislation. I am of the view that the Bill changes things so fundamentally that such an assessment is required.

The Good Friday Agreement protects the rights of Irish speakers in Northern Ireland, including the good constable to whom both the Minister of State and I referred. If we remove language rights from Gaelic-speaking people in this State, will we be infringing the sections of the Agreement which relate to economic, social and cultural issues? The Good Friday Agreement states:

All participants recognise the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance in relation to linguistic diversity, including in Northern Ireland, the Irish language, Ulster-Scots and the languages of the various ethnic communities, all of which are part of the cultural wealth of the island of Ireland.

We all agree with this and it must be noted that we will welcome a member of the Orange Order to the House next week. I think I am No. 71 in the order of succession of those who have represented Trinity College at parliamentary level. The second person in that order, Bishop William Bedell, translated the Bible into Irish in the 1600s in the hope that people would be persuaded to join the Protestant churches. We will check with our guest from the Orange Order but I do not believe the bishop's exercise has been very successful. We have a long tradition of cherishing the Irish language. Will this be put at risk if the voting rights of people in Gaeltacht areas who speak the language are removed?

Another aspect of what was agreed in the Good Friday Agreement is that:

In the context of active consideration currently being given to the UK signing the Council of Europe Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the British Government will in particular in relation to the Irish language, where appropriate and where people so desire it . . . take resolute action to promote the language . . . make provision for liaising with the Irish language community, representing their views to public authorities and investigating complaints . . . [and] encourage the parties to secure agreement that this commitment will be sustained by a new Assembly in a way which takes account of the desires and sensitivities of the community.

The British and Irish Government are guarantors of those language rights. I am delighted the Minister of State discussed the vindication of those rights with his opposite number last week. Had the decision to abandon the regulatory impact assessment not been made, this matter would have formed part of that assessment. Approximately 96,000 people living in Gaeltacht areas speak the Irish language. How will not carrying out such an assessment protect freedoms we sought to protect, encourage and promote within the terms of the Good Friday Agreement?

There are international dimensions to this. I am of the view that the Bill should have been submitted to the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Shatter, who addressed the issue of human rights in Geneva last October. The Minister did not cover language rights but he gave a speech on human rights that has been widely praised. Those who speak minority languages have very strong human rights. They are protected on this island by the Good Friday Agreement and in international terms they are protected by the Council of Europe, UNESCO, the United Nations and so on. I would have welcomed it if a regulatory impact assessment had been carried out. This could have taken cognisance of views of the authorities in Northern Ireland, the Department of Justice and Equality — which is the vindicator of human rights in this country — and the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, particularly in the context of how Ireland interprets international agreements. We cannot just sign up to agreements to protect the Basques and so forth and presume these do not have relevance in the context of protecting minority languages in this country.

There will be a need, prior to Report Stage, to obtain an assessment from the Departments of Justice and Equality and Foreign Affairs and Trade in respect of this matter. Does the Tánaiste, for example, see the withdrawal of voting rights from those who speak minority languages as having any implications in respect of agreements to which we might sign up at Geneva or elsewhere? What will the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Shatter, say on the next occasion on which he discusses Ireland's human rights record?

A formal view from the other parties to the Good Friday Agreement in respect of the human rights of Irish speakers in this country would be of value. Senator Ó Clochartaigh has raised a most important point. It was probably a mistake to decide that a regulatory impact assessment was not needed in respect of this most important legislation. Some 168 amendments have been tabled because people are so concerned with regard to this matter. The Minister of State is on record as saying the Bill would be passed quickly and with all-party agreement. Once people realised what it contained, the latter was never a possibility. We should now take the opposite route and consider the legislation on a line-by-line basis. In addition, we should seek the views of as many people as possible. I refer in this regard to the authorities in Northern Ireland, international human rights organisations and others.

Tá lúcháir orm an deis seo a bheith agam labhairt ar an mBille fíor-thábhachtach seo. Tá lúcháir orm fosta, agus ba mhaith liom seo a chur in iúl don Aire Stáit, agus dá fheidhmeannach Séamas, atá i láthair, go bhfuil deis againn an Bille a phlé anois go mion. De réir mar atá leagtha síos sa chlár ama don Teach, tá, ar a laghad, dhá sheisiún curtha san áireamh don tseachtain seo chugainn le plé a dhéanamh ar Chéim an Choiste den Bhille fosta. Is rud maith é sin agus béarfaidh sé deis dúinn go léir plé iomlán a dhéanamh ar seo. Tá sé tábhachtach go mbeidh an plé ionraic, féaráilte agus nach mbeidh muid ag iarraidh pointí polaitiúla a dhéanamh ach go mbeidh muid ag iarraidh an mhéid is fearr agus is féidir linn a dhéanamh leis an nGaeilge a chosaint, a fhorbairt agus a choinneáil slán sna blianta amach romhainn. Tá an Bille seo fíor-thábhachtach ón dtaobh sin de. I dtaca leis an leasú atá istigh ag mo chomhghleacaí, an Seanadóir Ó Clochartaigh — tuigim cén fáth gur mhol sé an leasú— má amharcann muid ar an fhás ar an nGaeilge san oileán seo i gcúrsaí oideachais — idir na bunscoileanna, meánscoileanna agus Gaelscoileanna — tá fás substaintiúil tagtha ar an nGaeilge sna Sé Chontae. Cuirim fáilte láidir roimhe sin. Mar duine a bhí ina chónaí ansin le ceithre nó cúig bliana, nuair a bhí mé ar choláiste, feicim agus go leor cairde agus daoine muinteartha liom sna Sé Chontae go bhfuil an Ghaeilge ag fás agus ag bisiú ansin. Tá súil agam go mbeidh siad in ann sna Sé Chontae an comhoibriú a fháil le plean nó straitéis, cosúil leis an straitéis 20 bliain atá i bhfeidhm againne, a chur ar fáil do phobal na Sé Chontae. Tá leasuithe molta agamsa i dtaca leis seo. Nuair a d'fhoilshigh Páirtí Fhianna Fáil an straitéis i dtús báire, bhí an remit nó an cúram leis na spriocanna sin a chur i bhfeidhm fágtha faoi chúram Údarás na Gaeltachta. Bhí réasún an-simplí ag baint leis sin. Is é an réasún a bhí ann ná go bhfuil an t-údarás freagrach do choistí de chuid an Oireachtais agus don Aire. An áit a fheicim laigeacht leis an dóigh atá an Bille leagtha síos anseo, ó thaobh an chúraim a thabhairt d'Fhoras na Gaeilge na moltaí a fhorbairt agus iad a chur i bhfeidhm taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht, nánach bhfuil an foras freagrach go díreach don Oireachtas. Dá bhrí sin, tá laigeacht ansin sa Bhille. Le cois sin, tá buiséad an fhorais ag brath ar airgead ón Stát anseo agus airgead ón Aire nó an comhthionól sna Sé Chontae. Tá buiséad an fhorais ag titim bliain i ndiaidh bliana. Dá bhrí sin — seo bun agus barr cur i bhfeidhm an Achta agus an Ghaeilge a shábháil — caithfidh airgead a bheith ar fáil leis na spriocanna atá sa straitéis agus an méid atá sa Bhille seo a chur i bhfeidhm agus an Ghaeilge a thógáil slán. Ní bheinn cinnte go bhfuil an buiséad ag an fhoras le sin a dhéanamh. Tuigim go huile agus go hiomlán go bhfuil ceist anseo faoi Éire aontaithe. Mar phoblachtánach, creidim go láidir gur chóir dúinn, mar ionadaithe poiblí, gach iarracht a dhéanamh gach céim a ghlacadh leis an oileán a aontú. Ach ag an am céanna, cé go bhfuil baint ag an nGaeilge leis sin, caithfimid a bheith cúramach ó thaobh an Ghaeilge a fhorbairt taobh amuigh de na Gaeltachtaí.

Má fhágann muid an cúram ag eagraíocht a bhfuil faoi bhrúó thaobh buiséid de, d'fhéadfaí deacrachtaí a chruthú. Ag an am céanna, ní bheadh an eagraíocht sin freagrach don Aire anseo go hiomlán ná don Oireachtas. Sin an fáth go bhfuil roinnt leasuithe istigh agam féin. Nílim ag fáil lochta ar bith ar an leasú atá istigh ag mo chomhghleacaí, ach táim ag díriú airde ar an bpointe sin. Creidim go láidir in eagraíocht de chuid an Stáit a chuireann na spriocanna atá sa Bhille seo i bhfeidhm, le cois na heagrais eile, cosúil le Conradh na Gaeilge, Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge agus eile, a bhfuil cúram speisialta acu, ar nós imeachtaí. Tá obair bhaile déanta acu go dtí seo agus ba chóir go mbeadh siadsan in ann cuidiú a thabhairt don údarás na spriocanna éagsúla sin a chur i bhfeidhm. Sin an méid atá le rá agam ar seo.

Tuigim cad as a dtagann an leasú seo. Tuigim go mbeidh an tAire Stáit agus an tAire Deenihan ag plé leis na hAirí ar an gcoiste chomhthionóil atá ar siúl idir an Stát agus na Sé Chontae. Tá sé tábhachtach go dtabharfaidh an Stát seo gach tacaíocht agus comhairle don Aire agus do na hinstitiúidí sa Tuaisceart le cuidiú a thabhairt dóibh straitéis a chur i bhfeidhm sna Sé Chontae leis an nGaeilge a fhorbairt agus a neartú. Ba chóir dúinne sa Stát seo, trí Fhoras na Gaeilge chomh maith, gach tacaíocht a thabhairt é sin a dhéanamh. Creidim go láidir go dtiocfaidh linn, i gceann cúig nó sé nó ocht mbliain eile, Gaeltacht a bheith againn i nDoire, Gaeltacht a bheith againn i mBéal Feirste agus Gaeltacht a bheith againn in áiteanna eile sna Sé Chontae. Tá súil agam go dtarlóidh sin. Tá eagrais iontach maith dílis don Ghaeilge bunaithe sna Sé Chontae. Tá baint agam féin le cuid acu agus bím ag caint leo go minic. Tá súil agam gur féidir linn, tríd an tacaíocht atá ar fáil d'Fhoras na Gaeilge, an tacaíocht sin a thabhairt dóibh. Ach má bhíonn daoine ag brath ar Fhoras na Gaeilge na spriocanna seo a chur i bhfeidhm amach as an mbuiséad atá aige faoi láthair, measaim go dtiocfadh leis sin fiú níos mó brú a chur ar na pobail sna Sé Chontae, de bhrí an bhuiséid atá ag an bhForas leagtha amach agus aontaithe agus de bhrí nach bhfuil cuma air, de réir an Bhille seo, go mbeidh aon bhuiséad breise ar fáil. Cruthóidh sin deacrachtaí ní hamháin sa Stát seo, ach sna Sé Chontae chomh maith. Caithfimid é sin a thógáil ar bord.

Shíl mé gur tháinig mé isteach anseo inniu le caint faoi Bhille na Gaeltachta, ach cloisim go leor faoi phoblachtánachas. Bhí mise i Rann na Feirste samhradh amháin ag fanacht i dteach ansin. Bhi an Cairdinéal Ó Fiaich sa teach céanna liom. Tháinig deartháir fear an tí isteach sa teach agus dúirt sé: "I am a republican to the hilt." D'fhreagair a dheartháir: "Aye, a bacchanalian republican." Is iomaí cineál poblachtánach atá againn sa tír seo, ach tá tír ghrá ag gach duine sa tír agus tá grá don teanga againn go léir sa Teach seo.

An cheist is mó ná an dóigh leis na Seanadóirí go n-oibreoidh na limistéir phleanála teanga Ghaeltachta? An coincheap nó an smaoineamh maith é? An bhfuil siad sásta tacú leis an Aire Stáit, an chéad Aire ó 1956 anuas a bhí sásta Bille Gaeltachta a thabhairt isteach sa Teach seo? Feicim go bhfuil 168 leasú molta ag Seanadóirí. Ní mholaim é sin. Bheinn níos sásta dá mbeadh 20 nó 30 leasú ann, mar thiocfadh linn ansin iad a phlé. Cé nach bhfuilim sásta faoin méid leasuithe atá ann, aontaím go bhfuil an ceart ag duine ar bith leasú a mholadh.

Táimid ag caint faoi leasú Uimh. 2 anois.

Rinne daoine eile ráitis. Sin an méid atá le moladh agam ag an am seo. Glacaim go bhfuil muid ag caint anois faoi leasú Uimh. 2. Caithfimid tacú leis an Aire Stáit, nó gheobhaidh an teanga bás i roinnt Gaeltachtaí. Aontaím leis an Aire Stáit ar an ábhar seo.

Cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire Stáit. It was the Minister of State who raised the issue of us all being republican. He said we may not all be nationalist, but we are all republican. I am not convinced that is the case here in this House. I agree the Minister of State is and Senator D'Arcy has put it on the record a number of times that he is a republican from Haggardstown, so we do not doubt his integrity.

One can have integrity without being a republican.

The point I am making is that I do not doubt the integrity of what he says. However, that is neither here nor there with regard to these amendments. The amendments we are discussing here seek to provide clarity for all of us. As the Minister of State knows, this Bill has implications for Foras na Gaeilge. It is integral to the working of that body, which is all-Ireland in its architecture, nature and work. Therefore, it makes sense that when the Bill speaks of "the Minister" and when we have an island with two different jurisdictions — whether we like that or not — and where we have two Ministers with responsibility for the language, North and South, we clarify which Minister we mean. Part of the Bill has implications for what is an all-island organisation. All amendment No. 2 seeks to do is to ensure that when we talk about "the Minister", we mean in this State. The other amendment, No. 3, seeks to clarify that when the Bill speaks of " the Minister in the North" it means the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure in the Northern Assembly. That is all these amendments seek to do. There is no hidden agenda. It is simple, they seek to provide clarity.

Senator Jim D'Arcy raised concerns with regard to the number of amendments tabled on this Bill. That is outrageous. Senators are entitled to table as many amendments as they think necessary. I remind the Senator that many Irish language organisations have lobbied all of us, parties and individuals, on their genuine concerns and issues. While there is much in this Bill that they and we support, there is much about which we have concerns and do not support. In that case, this is the forum in which to table amendments and tease out the issues. It is irrelevant to me whether we have ten or 3,000 amendments.

It is not irrelevant.

What is important is to have a proper and thorough debate on the Bill. It is a silly point to focus on the number of amendments.

Senator Cullinane is silly himself.

I find it difficult to understand why the Minister cannot accept the amendments when all they seek to do is to provide clarity.

Go raibh maith agat. Gabh mo leithscéal. Níl an Ghaeilge chomh flúirseach agam agus atá sé ag an Aire Stáit nó na Seanadóirí a bhí ag caint as Gaeilge cúpla nóiméad ó shin ach ba mhaith liom cúpla ponc a chur roimh Seanad Éireann anois agus cúpla focal a rá ar son scoil násiúnta Inis Meáin. Ceapaim go bhfuil oideachas an-tábhachtach——

That has nothing to do with the amendment.

I think it has. Anyway, I will lead the House there gradually. Níl an Ghaeilge chomh flúirseach agam agus atá sí an Aire Stáit nó leis na Seanadóirí a bhí ag caint as Gaeilge cúpla nóiméad ó shin ach ba mhaith liom cúpla ponc a chur os comhair an tSeanaid anois agus cúpla focal a rá ar son scoil náisiúnta Inis Meáin mar ceapaim go bhfuil oideachas an-thábhachtach.

Tá Gaeilge an mhaith ag an Seanadóir Norris.

With regard to the general technique of the debate, I am a realist——

Amendments Nos. 2 and 3 le do thoil, a Sheanadóir.

I know, but I have hardly finished the sentence. I am entitled to do that. I got as far as the word "ponc", which has a series of different meanings including full stop. Any speaker is entitled to arrive at the full stop before being guillotined. Other speakers on both sides have spoken about the nature of the Bill and the nature of the amendments. As far as I am concerned people have a right to table as many amendments as they want. Many of the amendments are substantial and well intentioned, but I have no doubt whatsoever that there is also a war of attrition going on. That is real politics and the reason is because people are dissatisfied with what is in the Bill. It is a perfectly legitimate political tactic to conduct a war of attrition. In the old days one used to be able to filibuster in this House but now we are rationed in the way in which we can filibuster.

Coming to the substance of the amendments it is interesting because on one side one could maintain that the attitude adopted by Sinn Féin is almost partitionist because it is separating the two but on the other hand it seems to me that there is a good practical reason for that so I approve of the pragmatic nature of it. It appears to me that the more clarity one can get into the Bill the better.

We raised questions of education and language, in particular giving a regulatory test. Senator Barrett raised the important point concerning other languages. We must ensure that we protect our languages in the legislation. It is important that right at the start we would make the point that without education we are banjaxed.

I have been to the Aran Islands. I know the situation there. I draw this school in particular to the Minister's attention. An amelioration was given whereby special circumstances were accepted that the level for a second teacher was eight pupils. In Inis Meáin the population fluctuates and it is just below the required level. It will be back up again in September. There is a second teacher there. If she takes early retirement, which is fair enough as she can do it, as it will not be any skin off her nose, but the second teacher might never come back. That is a school the Minister knows well because it won second place in the Ericsson national science competition. It is fantastic for a tiny school on an offshore island to win a national award. I say "Well done" to it. We must encourage and foster such schools. There are special circumstances on those islands and they must be looked after. It got second place in the Galway county heritage awards. That is wonderful. The Department issued a report which was lyrical in its praise of the school. It said that the music programme presented at the school was both comprehensive and motivational. It said that the development of pupils' music skills, which includes instrumental music, singing and musical literacy is comprehensive.

I will finish on this point. This is the island that inspired people such as Pádraig Pearse, Eoin MacNeill and Eoghan O'Growney who has the honour of being mentioned in James Joyce'sUlysses. I urge the Minister to please consider my request. I will write to him on the matter if I may because I can feel the gong coming — the dulcimer is in the hand of the Acting Chairman.

I did manage by devious means to sneak in what is a very important matter. I am sure other Senators will raise the issue. There may be a more appropriate place to raise it. I did look for one. I will end on this point. Perhaps I might have guidance as to whether I could raise the matter again on amendment No. 65. If not, perhaps some of my colleagues could do so. I have another meeting to attend.

We will deal with the matter when we come to amendment No. 65.

I hope the Minister will take my point on board.

Agus 168 leasú le plé, beimid anseo go ceann coicíse.

Tá rún curtha isteach agam ar an Athlá inniu maidir le scoil náisiúnta Inis Meáin. Sin an fóram is fearr chun an cheist sin a réiteach mar go mbaineann sí leis an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna.

Táimid ag caint faoi leasuithe Uimh. 2, 3 agus 110. Ní léir go díreach an tábhacht a bhaineann leis na leasuithe ansin go dtí go n-amharcaimid ar leasú Uimh. 110. Táimid ag iarraidh go gcuirfear isteach an leasú ag deireadh fho-alt 11(3). Léann an Bille faoi láthair mar a leanas: "Féadfaidh aon eagraíocht laistigh de phobal lena mbaineannfo-alt (2), agus a measfaidh Foras na Gaeilge í a bheith ionadaitheach don phobal lena mbaineann, plean Gaeilge a ullmhú, le cúnamh ó Fhoras na Gaeilge, ar phlean é a bheidh le cur i ngníomh ag an bpobal sin, agus an plean sin a chur faoi bhráid an Aire.” Tá tagairt ansin d’Fhoras na Gaeilge agus don Aire. Tá dhá Aire ann.

Sa Stát seo. Tuigim sin. Sure we cannot legislate for China in this Parliament.

Gabh mo leithscéal. Tá an Seanadóir ag aontú liom ar phointe amháin agus ag easaontú liom ar an bpointe eile. Nílimid ach ag iarraidh an soiléiriú sin a dhéanamh agus tá pointe dlí i gceist anseo. Tá feidhm dhlíthiúil ag beirt Aire ar Fhoras na Gaeilge. Táimid ag iarraidh nach mbeidh aon doiléire ag baint leis an gceist má chuirimid isteach an leasú beag bídeach "sa Stát seo" tá sé soiléir, níl aon grey areas ann faoi cé atá i gceist mar Aire, táimid ag tagairt don Aire atá tofa anseo i nDáil Éireann ag an Rialtas.

Tá an méid a luaigh an Seanadóir Ó Domhnaill faoi acmhainní tábhachtach. Sin ceann de na ceisteanna móra a bhaineann leis an mBille seo agus ceann de na deacrachtaí atá againn. Tá sé ráite nach mbeidh gá le hacmhainní breise leis an Acht seo a chur i bhfeidhm. Dúirt an Seanadóir Ó Domhnaill chomh maith, agus tá an ceart aige, go bhfuil gearradh siar á dhéanamh ar na hacmhainní in Údarás na Gaeltachta go háirithe agus i bhForas na Gaeilge le riar blianta anuas. Tuigeann sé go maith mar bhí a pháirtí i réim fad is a bhí na ciorruithe sin á gcur i bhfeidhm.

Tá dhá rud a bhaineann le Foras na Gaeilge le bheith aontaithe ar dhá líne. Labhair mise leis an Aire Cultúir, Ealaíon agus Fóillíochta an tseachtain seo caite nuair a bhí sí sa Teach seo agus dúirt sí liom nach raibh aon phlé léise maidir leis an mBille seo. Tagann sin go dtí an rud a dúirt an Seanadóir Barrett: ós rud é go bhfuil impleachtaí ag an mBille seo ar an gcóras Thuaidh-Theas a bhaineann le Foras na Gaeilge-An Foras Teanga, an bhfuil an Bille seo glanta leis an Roinn Cultúir, Ealaíon agus Fóillíochta ó Thuaidh? An bhfuil comhaontú déanta ansin? Tarlaíonn sin go rialta ó thaobh cúrsaí talmhaíochta agus mar sin nuair atá rud comónta ar an oileán agus buíochas le Díá, rud amháin atá iontach comónta ar an oileán ná an teanga — tá sí ar fud an oileáin ar fad. Tá impleachtaí ann leis seo de bharr an fhorais Thuaidh-Theas.

Ba mhaith liom a rá leis an Seanadóir D'Arcy go bhfuilimid anseo chun tacú leis an Aire Stáit.

Do you want the Queen to sign it as well?

Níl an Seanadóir ag éisteacht le mo phointe ar chor ar bith.

Yes. What a good idea.

Ní chabhraíonn ráitis mar sin leis an díospóireacht beag nó mór. Tá pointe dlí anseo.

Banríon Eilís II to the Senator.

De réir mar a thuigim, níl seo aontaithe leis an Aire ó Thuaidh agus bheadh sin tábhachtach. Má amharcaimid ar alt 11(3), má tá plean le baile seirbhíse Gaeltachta le cur i gcrích nó le haontú, ní féidir leis an Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta é sin a cheadú leis féin. Caithfear an plean a chur faoi bhráid an dá Aire go dlíthiúil. Ní sinn a chum ná a cheap ach sin an dóigh go bhfuil Foras na Gaeilge leagtha amach.

Táimid ag iarraidh go mbeidh sin soiléir sa Bhille sa chaoi is nach mbeidh aon easaontú amach anseo.

Tá mé ag éisteacht leis an méid atá le rá ach dá ndéanfaí sin, chaithfíé a dhéanamh freisin mar gheall ar North-South cooperation in enterprise agus waterways. Scríobhadh síos i ndlí an Aontais Eorpaigh go mbeadh ceangal Thuaidh-Theas agus le Sasan le haghaidh fuinnimh. Dá mbeadh cumhacht ag an Aire sa Bhille, ba cheart an cumhacht sin a chur i ngach Bille.

Ba mhaith liom pointe beag a dhéanamh. It is interesting that we are debating amendments Nos. 2 and 3 which seek to cement the partition of the island. They come from Sinn Féin. Not too long ago its members were up in arms over Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution. It is interesting, therefore, that they are trying to do this.

Obviously, the Senator was not listening to what we had to say.

I agree with what previous speakers said. We cannot make laws in this House for other jurisdictions. We must be sensible about this. We have debated the amendments for long enough. It is time for the Minster of State to respond and for us to move on.

A number of points have been made. I want to respond, in particular, to Senator David Norris in respect of his interest in and concern for the scoil on Inishmaan. The last time I was there it was a very pleasant occasion. I was on the island to attended a showing of "The Cripple of Inishmaan".

A wonderful play.

While I have no direct responsibility for the school on Inishmaan, I will convey the Senator's comments to the relevant Department, an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna.

D'iarr an Seanadóir Sean Barrett an bhfuil seasamh bunreachtúil ag an mBille seo. He asked if it was constitutional and mentioned the Department of Justice and Law Reform. Like all other Bills, the Bill was circulated to all Departments and responses were received in due course. In addition, to copperfasten our stand, we referred the Bill to the Attorney General and there were no difficulties in that regard either. Therefore, from all the expert opinions available to me from the Department of Justice and Law Reform and the Ard Aighne, the Attorney General, the Bill is constitutional.

On the North-South issue, in the wake of the Anglo-Irish Agreement Foras na Gaeilge is responsible in this jurisdiction for promoting the Irish language outside Gaeltacht areas. It also has responsibility for fostering the Irish language in Northern Ireland. When the Bill was published, as a matter of courtesy, a copy was sent to the relevant Minister and Department in Northern Ireland. We do not have to do these things. I do not interfere with the Minister in Northern Ireland in the excellent work she is doing, apart from attending a number of events in Northern Ireland, at which I am always welcome. I attended the seoladh of the "Líofa" plan that I meantioned previously, under which the Minister in Northern Ireland wants to have 1,000 people signed up to learn Irish. Already the figure has exceeded 2,000. Good luck to her and we will give her all the support we can.

Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill should be aware that I have been to a number of places in Northern Ireland. I have been to Carntogher which could be a Gaeltacht area. However, I have no jurisdiction to declare it as such. Having said that, I have great admiration for what is being done there. It is only a number of months since I was in Maynooth, County Kildare, in a hotel adjacent to the seminary, in which Glór na nGael awarded prizes for the best effort made by any community north or south of the Border. I was very proud, as an Ulsterman, to give it to Strabane and Carntogher the previous year. We must give all those involved all the support we can.

In terms of meetings with the Minister in Northern Ireland, she has a perfect understanding of what we are doing. I admire what she is doing andvice versa. I know what my jurisdictionis and she knows hers, but we have the same aim — progressing the Irish language. Foras na Gaeilge has €21 million at its disposal this year for the promotion of the language, North and South. We contribute 75% of the fund. The Northern Government — Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh might like to call it “Westminster”— provides the remaining 25%.

We are not depriving any citizen of any right. Nuair a bunaíodh Údarás na Gaeltachta in 1979. As a result of the Act, we gave the people of the Gaeltacht the opportunity to vote. In the case of the new Údarás, there will be no direct voting. I gave the reasons for this. We will save €500,000 and so on. This does not apply to amendments Nos. 2, 3 and 110, but the discussion had become so broad I had to make a number of points. The right to vote was incorporated in an Act. The Bill, when enacted, will reconstitute and restructure Údarás na Gaeltachta. We have decided that there will be no provision for an election, but we are not depriving people of anything. If we were to say there would be no more county council, Seanad or Dáil elections——

They are on the point of doing that. According to the Taoiseach, that is exactly what he is at.

The point I want to make, if the Senator will listen to me, if that if we wanted to do this, we would have to go to the people for a constitutionalimprimatur. In fact, we intend to promote language rights. We will give people more opportunities, help and advice in that regard. I do not want to repeat what I said here last week.

I do not know what a republican is, but I was born in this jurisdiction. I speak the two official languages to the best of my ability. Chomh maith agus is féidir liom.

(Interruptions).

I salute the flag of the country any time I see it. My allegiance is to what is represented by the flag behind the Cathaoirleach's Chair. I also recognise the courts of the country. They are constitutionally entitled to do what they are doing through the will of the people. I recognise the role of the Garda Síochána and Óglaigh na hÉireann. If I were to join the Army tomorrow, it is Óglaigh na hÉireann I would join, not that it or any other army would have me at this stage.

It is getting rid of people anyway.

I hope to die in this country. I do not know where that leaves me. What else do I have to do to be considered a republican? Can anyone enlighten me? Cad eile atá le déanamh agam?

Incidentally, not only do we support the promotion of the Irish language in Northern Ireland, we also support the Ulster Scots. I have attended some of their functions in Northern Ireland. On the last occasion the Scottish Pipe Band Association presented certificates to young boys and young girls who had learned the bagpipes in Northern Ireland. I asked it to extend into activities into County Donegal, in which there is a tradition of having pipe bands. There is an Ulster Scots interpretative centre in my constituency, in Monreagh, east Donegal, and it is an eye opener. It outlines the history of the Ulster Scots dating back to the time of the plantations. In fact, eight or nine American Presidents had roots in that part of our heritage, of which they were so proud. There are former Presidents with roots in this part of the country, but there are also McKinleys and Buchanans, to name but a few. John McCain has cousins in Convoy, east Donegal. I do not know if I am allowed to name constituents here, but he has cousins there. It is a very proud tradition and I want to bring all of them together, but as far as the Bill is concerned, it will only apply in the State. Anything the Minister in Northern Ireland can do is her responsibility. I will give her all the support I can. We sit down regularly together to discuss these issues. Cuireadh cóipeanna den Bhille suas agus táimid ag obair as lámh a chéile, ag comhoibriú, agus sin an fáth that I cannot accept an leasú seo.

Tá cuid mhaith ráite ag an Aire Stáit ansin arís agus glacaim leis an méid atá sé ag rá ach tá mé ag dul ar ais chuig an phointe dlí a bhaineann leis seo. Bíonn comhráití ar siúl idir an tAire Stáit agus an tAire Cultúir, Ealaíon agus Fóillíochta sa Sé Chontae agus tá caidreamh an-mhaith eatarthu. Tá an tAire ó Thuaidh in ann athrú agus tá Airí in ann teacht i bhfeidhm nach mbeadh chomh báúil don Ghaeilge agus atá an tAire faoi láthair agus caithfimid bheith cúramach nuair atáimid ag dréachtáil reachtaíochta go bhfuil na ceisteanna áirithe sin san áireamh againn.

Táimid ag plé leasuithe Uimh, 2, 3, 110. Tarraingím aird an Aire Stáit ar leasú Uimh. 110, a bhaineann le leathanach 23, alt 10. Cuirtear a leanas in iúl ansin: "Féadfaidh aon eagraíocht laistigh de phobal lena mbaineannfo-alt (2), agus a measfaidh Foras na Gaeilge í a bheith ionadaitheach don phobal lena mbaineann, plean Gaeilge a ullmhú, le cúnamh ó Fhoras na Gaeilge, ar phlean é a bheidh le cur i ngníomh ag an bpobal sin, agus an plean sin a chur faoi bhráid an Aire.”

Tá mé ag iarraidh ceist shimplí a chur. An bhfuil soiléiriú faighte ón Ard-Aighne maidir leis an bhfo-alt seo? De réir mo thuisceana, tá próiseas comhchinnteoireachta ag baint le Foras na Gaeilge. Cé go bhfuil Foras na Gaeilge ó Thuaidh ag feidhmiú as cur i bhfeidhm cúrsaí teanga sa Sé Chontae, tá Foras na Gaeilge ó Dheas ag feidhmiú sa Fiche-sé Chontae maidir le cur chun cinn na Gaeilge taobh amuigh de na Gaeltachtaí. Níl dhá fhoras ann, áfach, tá Foras na Gaeilge ann, le bord amháin agus tá an bord sin freagrach don dá Aire comhionann. Tá mé ag iarraidh soiléiriú faoi sin agus sin an fáth go bhfuilimid ag moladh na leasuithe beag seo, nach mbeadh aon idirdhealú ann agus go mbeimis clúdaithe ó thaobh an dlí de. Ba mhaith liom soiléiriú a fháil faoi sin agus sin an fáth go bhfuilimid ag moladh agus go mbeimid ag brú na leasuithe seo.

Chuaigh an Bille chuig na Ranna go léir, an Roinn Dlí agus Cirt agus Comhionannais san áireamh, agus tháinig an Bille ó Oifig an Ard-Aighne. Níl mise in ann barántas níos fearr ná sin a chur in iúl don Teach. Tháinig séó Oifig an Ard-Aighne agus má tá an tArd-Aighne ag rá go bhfuil sé bunreachtúil, glacaim go fonnmhar leis go bhfuil sé bunreachtúil. Sin an fáth nach féidir liom glacadh leis an leasú seo.

Go raibh maith agat. We are invoking the Anglo-Irish Agreement on this side of the House because of the traditions in Northern Ireland whereby Nationalists would be discriminated against, not least in the Minister of State's adjoining city of Derry, and disgracefully so, and those rights were put in. I never thought I would be invoking it on behalf of Irish language speakers in this jurisdiction but it is there and we will use it. It was there to protect the minority within Northern Ireland. I would oppose any legislation to deprive 96,000 Unionist people in this State of a vote or 96,000 Nationalist people in Northern Ireland of a vote.

The Minister of State said he sent it to the other Departments. The last Attorney General outing on this, as the Minister of State, will know, was to advise that the Donegal South-West by-election was a discretionary item, which the Government could hold. It lost heavily in the High Court under Mr. Justice Nicholas Kearns. The Attorney General is not necessarily infallible in these matters. I would still appreciate an impact assessment as well.

The Minister of State mentioned the €500,000 the Government is saving by not having elections and I would ask him to reflect on this. Our GDP per head is approximately 11 times that of India. There is nobody in India saying "let us cancel the elections, they cost too much money". Democracy at our level of GDP per head should not be cancelled on money grounds. How will we hold our faces up in the international community because we cancelled an election to save €500,000? I utterly dispute that figure. No provision was made in the Estimates for the Minister of State's Department in the past two years for any election to Údarás na Gaeltachta. The last time an election was held, the figure was €300,000. The Minister of State's Department had plenty of opportunities to hold Údarás na Gaeltachta elections jointly with the presidential election or with referendums at minimal cost. Therefore, I dispute the €500,000 cost that has been put forward as the reason for not having these elections and that is what is causing concern.

If the Minister of State was to say the Department made the mistake and we will run the Údarás na Gaeltachta elections with the referendums that are pending, we would all join with him in this House to support an Ghaeilge, because it is that to which we are dedicated, North and South. He has been very badly advised to cancel elections to save money. Rinne the Office of the Attorney General, Oifig an Ard-Aighne, botún an-mhór maidir leis an gceist dheireanach a cuireadh whether voting is discretionary or whether people have rights. These people have language rights and those are enshrined. If we look to the UNESCO declaration of linguistic rights, all language communities have the right to organise and manage their own resources to ensure the use of their language for all functions in society.

On a point of order——

They have these rights.

Níl an Seanadóir ag labhairt faoi na leasuithe.

That is not a point of order.

The Minister's advisers tell him they do not have them but we are asking for court cases, as in the Pearse Doherty case, if we persist in denying people their voting rights, and we will have to use Northern Ireland or international obligations to defend the voting rights of those citizens.

The Senator is not speaking to the amendment.

I strongly support what Senator Barrett said and he said it with passion and dignity. He is standing up for the principle of democracy. The Minister of State is right in one sense. It is not a vote in a national election.

That is outside the scope of the amendment.

This is what has been talked about just two minutes ago.

The Minister and Senator Barrett addressed it and it lies at the heart of the dispute between us.

We will never finish if we do not move——

I am moving on from that, if the Senator would allow me.

You got your dealing trick earlier.

You got your dealing trick earlier about Inis Meáin.

The Senator should address comments through the Chair.

The Senator got his dealing trick and he should let matters lie and move on to amendment.

The Minister is a most gentlemanly person.

The Senator should stick to the amendment.

He is a man who speaks beautifully and eloquently in both English and Irish and he had me with him until he mentioned the bagpipes.

The definition of a gentleman is one who knows how to play the bagpipes but refrains from doing so. Had he mentioned the uilleann pipes he would have had me with him completely. When he went on to talk about Ulster Scots, I was completely and absolutely gone, and I do not give a tuppenny damn about Wilson, McKinley, Calvin Coolidge, Taft or any of them from wherever they came. I will tell the Minister a matter of fact. Ulster Scots is not a language; it is a dialect. One might as well protect the way they speak in Leicestershire, Cornwall, Cork, Corca Dhuibhne or anywhere else. It is not a language.

That is not part of the amendment.

It is not a language, it is just a fudge. I used to get this twaddle sent down to me about Ulster Scots which was written down. It is a dialect, not a language. Talk about me massaging things. The cute boyos up there are massaging things to get parity with Irish language for a thing that is wonderful, lovely and a part of culture, but it is a dialect, not a language.

Cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire Stáit. This Bill is significant in the history of the language, our State and country. The purpose of the Bill is to save the language. I hope there is agreement across the House on that. It is not just to save údarás elections. If údarás elections were to save the language, then clearly they have failed because the number of Irish speakers in the Gaeltacht has decreased from 90,000 down to 23,000. I would be supporting údarás and údarás elections. It is not that there will not be an údarás.

It is not democratic. There is no democracy.

Democracy does not necessary save the language.

Democracy does not work. Is that what the Senator is saying?

Democracy does not save the language.

Will we scrap the Seanad now as well?

Democracy did not save the economy either, but we do not do away with it.

The people in the Gaeltacht areas are represented by councillors elected in local elections and by Members in both Houses of the Oireachtas, the Dáil and the Seanad. They also have a European vote. We have to say this clearly.

On a point of order, the amendments are not about Údarás elections. They are very specific.

We are discussing the Gaeltacht versus the State.

It is time we look at everything and ask whether what we are doing will serve or make a difference.

Will it make a difference in terms of saving the language? An examination of the evidence on údarás would be damning. Údarás has not been a failure by any means but its elections have not made a difference to saving the language.

On a point of order, Ulster Scots is a language not a dialect. It is recognised in Europe and internationally as a language. The Minister is correct to include it as a language in the North of Ireland. The Ulster Scots society would be offended otherwise.

I have listened with interest to the debate on this amendment for the past hour. Speakers appear to be scoring points instead of dealing with the amendment. I remind the House that I have allowed two hours and 30 minutes for a debate on the Bill today, a further four to five hours on Committee Stage next week and a similar amount of time on Report Stage the following week. I ask Members to focus their minds on the time available to deal with the Bill and thank the Minister of State for agreeing to come to the House during these times.

I welcome the Leader's comments. I had hoped to make a contribution on the issue of údarás elections but I felt precluded from doing so because they were not being dealt with under these amendments. We appear to have engaged in a wider debate. One of the difficulties of debating Bills on Committee Stage is that we may not reach important amendments. We are considering whether to give powers to a Minister outside this jurisdiction to engage in what is happening in this jurisdiction.

That is not what we are arguing.

That is essentially what the amendments infer.

It is a misrepresentation.

Amendment No. 3 refers to the "Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure in the Northern Assembly". Amendment No. 2 qualifies the definition of "Gaeltacht" with the words "in this State". The amendments aim at extending the role of Foras na Gaeilge across the island.

That is the case already.

I have serious qualms about the proposal, as our spokesperson will explain at a later stage. My party will not be supporting the amendments.

I will be pressing the amendments but it is disappointing that Fianna Fáil is not supporting them. It is not helpful to misrepresent what they purport to do. Senator Ó Clochartaigh and I have already pointed out that the amendments simply provide clarity on who shall be the responsible Minister for the purpose of this Bill. The responsible Minister is the Minister in this State but——

We know where we living.

I ask the Senator to listen to my argument.

We do not need to reminded by the inclusion of unnecessary language.

I am putting the question on the amendment.

If the Senator opened his ears——

This is purely partitionist.

——he might understand what I am saying. It might be news to Senator Mooney but Foras na Gaeilge already has an all-Ireland remit.

I am fully aware of that but in the context of this Bill——

We want to ensure that when we speak——

Does the Senator want it in the context of this Bill?

It is not partitionist. It accepts the fact that two Ministers on the island have responsibility for much of what Foras na Gaeilge does. These amendments simply reflect that fact. They do not give the Minister in the North any powers in this jurisdiction. To say that is to completely misrepresent the amendments.

I ask the Minister of State to clarify this issue. With all due respect to Senator Cullinane, what he is saying about the role of Foras na Gaeilge is absolutely correct. Is it not true, however, that Foras na Gaeilge is also obliged to take account of Ministers from the Northern Assembly in respect of any matter pertaining to the Irish language?

Name the two Ministers.

They are already directly involved in Foras na Gaeilge. My colleague will argue that it is questionable whether Foras na Gaeilge should be given an enhanced role in this legislation because as it stands it is giving a Northern Irish Minister direct influence over legislation which does not originate in that jurisdiction without aquid pro quo in that the Southern Minister has no involvement in what goes on in the Northern jurisdiction. Correct me if I am wrong but that is the logic of these amendments. They are somewhat disingenuous.

Senator Mooney is being disingenuous. He should speak to his own colleagues, such as Deputy Ó Cuív.

At the risk of repeating myself, Foras na Gaeilge has an all-Ireland constitution but it involves two Ministers. The responsibility of Foras na Gaeilge is to promote Irish and Ulster Scots on the island of Ireland. The Minister in Northern Ireland has the responsibility of promoting the Irish language in any way she likes in Northern Ireland. She does not have to listen to me or to anyone else, although we hold regular meetings to discuss these matters and keep each other informed. As I noted earlier, a copy of the Bill has been sent as a courtesy to the Minister in Northern Ireland, Carál Ní Chuilín, MLA. Foras na Gaeilge also has a responsibility for promoting Irish in this State. This Bill deals with this State and has nothing to do with Northern Ireland.

Foras na Gaeilge is a dual purpose organisation. The Minister there looks after the affairs of the Irish language in Northern Ireland and we do our thing down here. It is Gaeilge is financed by North and South. We contribute 75% of its resources and Northern Ireland contributes 25%. We hold regular meetings and I applaud what is happening in Northern Ireland. I congratulated the Minister on the success of Líofa 2015, a new scheme which aimed at signing 1,000 people up to the Irish language but has already exceeded 2,000 people. I have visited a number of places in Northern Ireland where Irish is spoken and which offer a great example to us down here, such as Carntogher and Strabane. They are doing great work and we are trying to do our thing down here. There are two separate states and this Bill applies to this State. We are not going to interfere up there and they will not interfere down here. We have the same aim but we recognise the political reality on this island.

As regards the constitutionality of the Bill, which we discussed before Senator Mooney entered the Chamber, it did the rounds of all the Departments, including the Department of Justice and Equality.

I was following the debate.

It was submitted to the Attorney General more than once. Unlike certain Senators, I am just a layperson who does not have a detailed knowledge of the law——

I was not questioning the Bill's constitutionality.

——but I have no hesitation in recommending that the House be guided by the advice of the Attorney General. I will not second guess any Attorney General and that is why I cannot accept the amendment.

I agree with Senator Cummins that much of the debate has focused on issues unrelated to the amendments. It is important that we focus on the amendments go mbeidh an deis againn plé sonrach a dhéanamh orthu. Sin an fáth go bhfuil na leasuithe ann, go mbeimid chomh sonrach agus is féidir.

I dtaca leis an leasú seo, the amendments we have submitted demonstrate our fundamental opposition to giving a function to Foras na Gaeilge in deciding on networks, Irish language plans or service towns in this State. We are fundamentally opposed to Foras na Gaeilge having a function to decide on networks or Irish language plans or service towns in this State. Why? From a practical point of view, Foras na Gaeilge has no official responsibility to this Oireachtas. The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht cannot scrutinise the work of Foras na Gaeilge. The Minister of State has correctly pointed out that 75% of the budget comes from the State and 25% comes from the North of Ireland. I would not like to see communities in this State, whether they are in Dublin or Letterkenny, having prepared plans that are funded under the auspices of the Westminster purse. It is regrettable we are going down that road.

Foras na Gaeilge is doing excellent work within the 32 counties, established and supported by the former Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív. It has a huge role to play in the promotion of the Irish language and continues to do that. Its budget, however, is limited and there is nothing in this Bill to suggest its budget will be enhanced to provide the additional resources required. We are suggesting, as was set out in the 20 year Irish language strategy a d'fhoilsigh an Rialtas deireanach, go mbeadh an cúram iomlán ag Údarás na Gaeltachta, i gcomhairle leis na heagrais uile a luaigh mé, na pleananna sin a ullmhú agus comhoibriú a fháil ón bpobal chun iad a chur i bhfeidhm agus an buiséad cuí a bheith ar fáil. Tá an t-údarás freagrach don choiste Oireachtais agus don Aire sa Stát seo amháin.

Níl mé ag rá go bhfuil fadhb agam ligean don fhoras an obair seo a dhéanamh ach láéigin nuair a bheidh brú airgid ar an fhoras agus é ag iarraidh obair a dhéanamh i mBéal Feirste, mar thoradh air sin bheadh seans ann go gcuirfí siar plean teanga i Leitir Ceanainn. There are practical difficulties in even having Foras na Gaeilge involved in implementing these plans within the State. This is not about a 32 county republic, it is not a republican question. We should park that outside the Chamber. This is about the Irish language. It has nothing to do with republicanism or who we are. I heard Senator Norris speak in Irish and I welcomed that. There are Senators on gach taobh den Teach ag labhairt i nGaeilge.

The Senator must speak on the amendment.

It is not about republicanism.

We are discussing three amendments.

Tá sé tábhachtach. Baineann sé le forbairt na teanga.

If the Senator wants to come in on the section, I will let him in.

I have made my point.

Tá sé tábhachtach rud nó dhó a chur ar an taifead faoi Fhoras na Gaeilge. Tá míchruinneas áirithe sa díospóireacht anseo. Tá feidhm uile-Éireann ag Foras na Gaeilge. Tá sé spéisiúil an méid atá an Seanadóir Ó Domhnaill ag rá mar is faoi aireacht Éamoin Uí Chuív a cuireadh Foras na Gaeilge ar bun ar an mbunús ina bhfuil sé. Táimid san áit ina bhfuilimid; sin atá ag feidhmiú i láthair na huaire ó thaobh na reachtaíochta de.

Táimid tar éis dul frí phróiseas maidir leis an tsamhail nua mhaoinithe leis an gcomhchoiste Oireachtais, ag plé obair Fhoras na Gaeilge agus obair na n-eagras Gaeilge ar fad. Níl sé fíor a rá nach bhfuil ionchur agus maoirseacht againn ar an obair a dhéantar faoi scáth Fhoras na Gaeilge. Níor tugadh an pictiúr ceart ó thaobh na caoi a fheidhmíonn Foras na Gaeilge ach an oiread. Tá eagrais ann a mhaoinítear faoi Fhoras na Gaeilge, cosúil le Conradh na Gaeilge, atá ag feidhmiú ar bhonn uile-oileánda. Nuair a bhí an tsamhail nua mhaoinithe á plé agus bhí deacrachtaí ag eagrais leis sin, tógadh ceisteanna go poiblí agus rinneadh próiseas plé ar fud an oileáin. Nuair a bhí deacrachtaí leis an mbord ansin, tógadh comhchinneadh ag leibhéal na n-Airí. Sin an pointe go bhfuilimid ag iarraidh a dhéanamh. Tá veto comhchinnteoireachta ag an dá Aire, thaitneodh sin linn nó nach dtaitneodh, tá sin sa dlí. Dá mbeadh Aire ó pháirtí eile nach bhfuil chomh fabhrach don Ghaeilge, bheadh sé in ann veto a chur ar phleananna a bheadh á gcur i bhfeidhm dá mbeadh Gaeilge nó líonra baile Gaeltachta le bunadh i gCeatharlach nó i gContae an Chláir nó in áit mar sin. Aontaím nár cheart go gcuirfimis bac leis sin ach sin an pointe dlí atáimid ag iarraidh a dhéanamh. Bunaithe ar sin, beimid ag brú na leasuithe seo.

Chomh fada agus a bhaineann sé liom, tá mé i ndiaidh a rá go bhfuil comhairle na Ranna go léir againn, tá comhairle ón Ard-Aighne againn. Dá réir sin, tá an Bille bunreachtúil agus ní féidir liom glacadh leis an leasú.

Amendment put.

Senators

Votáil.

Will the Senators claiming a division please stand?

Senators Sean D. Barrett, David Cullinane, David Norris and Trevor Ó Clochartaigh rose.

As fewer than five Senators have risen I declare the amendment lost. In accordance with Standing Orders the names of the Senators dissenting will be recorded in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Seanad.

Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 3:

In page 6, between lines 22 and 23, to insert the following:

"In this Act, "the Minister in the North of Ireland" means the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure in the Northern Assembly.".

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 5; Níl, 33.

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Norris, David.
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Níl

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Clune, Deirdre.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Comiskey, Michael.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • D’Arcy, Jim.
  • D’Arcy, Michael.
  • Gilroy, John.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Healy Eames, Fidelma.
  • Heffernan, James.
  • Higgins, Lorraine.
  • Keane, Cáit.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Moloney, Marie.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Moran, Mary.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • O’Donnell, Marie-Louise.
  • O’Keeffe, Susan.
  • O’Neill, Pat.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Power, Averil.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.
  • Whelan, John.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.
Tellers: Tá, Senators David Cullinane and Trevor Ó Clochartaigh; Níl, Senators Paul Coghlan and Susan O’Keeffe.
Amendment declared lost.
Question, "That section 2 stand part of the Bill," put and declared carried.
SECTION 3.
Government amendment No. 4:
In page 6, subsection (1), line 24, after "Ministers" to insert "of the Government".

Is leasúé seo atá molta ag an dréachtóir parlaiminte ionas go mbeidh sé rí-shoiléir gur Airí Rialtais seachas Airí Stáit atá i gceist leis an bhfo-alt seo. Is leasú teicniúil é agus molaim é.

Táimid ag tacú leis an Aire Stáit sa leasú atáá dhéanamh aige. Tá sé ciallmhar agus ar bhealach tá sé beagnach cosúil leis na leasuithe a bhíomar féin ag moladh roimhe seo le haghaidh soiléiriú. Tá an ceart aige agus an ceart ag an dréachtóir go ndéanfaí an soiléiriú seo.

Ba mhaith linn a rá go gasta go n-aontaíonn muid leis an leasú teiciúil seo. Níl aon deacracht leis.

Cad faoin Aire Stáit é féin? An gcaithfidh an tAire, an Teachta Deenihan, dul i dteagmháil leis maidir leis na rialacháin a bheidh á dhéanamh aige? Tá sé ráite ag an Aire Stáit nach mbeidh cead ag an Aire dul i dteagmháil le hAirí Stáit. An mbeidh cead aige dul i dteagmháil leis an Aire Stáit, an Teachta McGinley?

Aontaím go láidir leis an Aire Stáit. I strongly support the amendment, which proposes that we insert the words "such Ministers of the Government as the Minister considers appropriate" in section 3 of the Bill. I thank the Minister of State for proposing it. As we have been saying this afternoon, the Irish language is so vital that all of the Cabinet should be involved in making these regulations. It is very enlightened of the Minister of State to bring this amendment forward. We need to ensure the Department of Justice and Equality is involved from a linguistic rights perspective. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has a role in upholding our international obligations under linguistic treaties. Our language can help to boost this country's tourism industry as well. The education sector is also involved, of course. Every Department of State has a duty to assist the Minister in this regard. I commend the amendment strongly because it will ensure the entire Government has a role. The promotion of the language is a shared objective of every Member of this House. The amendment before the House will ensure all Ministers are involved in that process. I support it strongly.

Aontaím leis an méid a bhí le rá ag an Seanadóir Barrett. Maidir leis an gceist a d'ardaigh an Seanadóir Ó Broin, tá feidhmeanna na Gaeltachta tarmligthe. It is a matter of devolved authority.

Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 3, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

Aontaím leis an alt seo, ach ba mhaith liom ceist ghinearálta a chur faoin méid atá istigh ann. Tá sé tábhachtach go bhfuil na cumhachtaí seo chun rialacháin a dhéanamh á bhronnadh ar an Aire. Baineann an cheist atá agam leis an maoiniú a bheidh ar fáil ó thaobh cur i bhfeidhm an Achta. De réir na reachtaíochta mar atá sí faoi láthair, "féadfaidh an tAire rialacháin a dhéanamh, ag féachaint dó nó di do na hacmhainní a bheidh ar fáil". Is ceist phraiticiúil í seo. Beidh an tAire in ann rialacháin éagsúla a dhéanamh chun na spriocanna agus na pleananna teanga a chur i bhfeidhm agus a bhaint amach. B'fhéidir go dtabharfaidh an tAire soiléiriú maidir leis an áit as a dtiocfaidh na hacmhainní chun an reachtaíocht seo a chur i bhfeidhm. Tá sé ráite go ndéanfar é seo a shonrú sna rialacháin. Má tá an tAire Stáit ag iarraidh é sin a dhéanamh, glacfaidh mé leis sin.

Mar aon le haon reachtaíocht eile a thugtar isteach, caithfimid feidhmiú taobh istigh de na hacmhainní atá ar fáil dúinn, fiú má tá siad teoranta nó neamhtheoranta. Is é sin mar a rachfaidh sé ar aghaidh.

Cé go n-aontaím leis an alt seo, tá fadhb amháin anseo. Tuigim go bhfuil an aeráid eacnamaíochta fíor-dheacair faoi láthair. Táíslú mór tagtha ar na hacmhainní atá ar fáil don Stát.

The Senator is on the wrong section.

The section that relates to expenses, etc., is section 4.

Tá a fhios agam. Tá mé ag caint faoi na rialacháin a thabharfaidh an Aire isteach.

We are on section 3, which relates to regulations.

Tá a fhios agam. Tá"available resources" luaite san alt seo.

Section 4 deals with resources.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 4
Question proposed: "That section 4 stand part of the Bill."

Baineann an t-alt seo leis na "expenses incurred by the Minister". Obviously, is é seo bun agus barr chuid mhór den Bhille seo. Glacaim leis an méid a dúirt an tAire Stáit go gcaithfidh an Roinn an reachtaíocht seo a chur i bhfeidhm taobh istigh de na hacmhainní cuí atá ar fáil don Roinn. An bhfuil aon aontú ag leibhéal an Rialtais i dtaca le airgead breise a bheith ar fáil ón Rialtas go ginearálta don Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta leis na spriocanna agus na pleananna teanga atá leagtha amach sa Bhille seo a chur i bhfeidhm? Beidh airgead i gceist anseo. Cá háit as a dtiocfaidh an t-airgead sin? Ní cheart dúinn é a fhágáil go dtí na coistí agus na heagraíochtaí pobal-bunaithe na hacmhainní a fháil chun an plean seo a chur i bhfeidhm. It should not be left to organisation to implement this legislation and the Irish-language plans, in effect. Financial support has to be available. The Bill does not outline how that will happen. Section 4 states that the "The expenses incurred by the Minister in the administration of this Act shall, to such extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas". Glacann muid leis sin. Níl aon deacracht againn leis sin.

An bhfuil an Rialtas chun acmhainní breise a chur ar fáil don Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta leis na Acht seo — glacann muid leis go mbeidh sé ceadaithe — a chur i bhfeidhm agus na pleananna éagsúla a bhaint amach? Thug mé sampla ar an Dara Céim den mhéid a tharlóidh muna bhfuil na hacmhainní cuí curtha ar fáil. Dúirt mé go bhfuil plean teanga críochnaithe agus dréachtaithe i gceantar an Spidéal. Chosnaigh sé€25,000 an plean a dhréachtú. De réir na saineolaithe a bhí bainteach leis an bplean, chosnóidh sé€650,000, ar a laghad, an plean a chur i bhfeidhm. Beidh acmhainní den chineál sin ag teastáil sna 19 ceantar atá leagtha amach san Acht seo i dtaobh pleananna teanga Gaeltachta. Má ghlacann muid leis go mbeidh figiúr cosúil leis sin i gceist, is cuid mhór airgid é sin. Níl sé luaite sa Bhille. Ag an am céanna, an bhfuil aon phlé déanta leis an Aire, an Teachta Howlin, nó ag leibhéal aireachta, i dtaobh an airgid sin a chur ar fáil don Roinn agus na pleananna éagsúla sin a chur i bhfeidhm?

Tacaím leis an méid atá luaite ag an Seanadóir Ó Domhnaill. Aontaím i bprionsabail leis an foráil go dtabharfar cead don Aire an caiteachas seo a dhéanamh. Tuigim os na díospóireachtaí go bhfuil imní ar an bpobal maidir leis na h-acmhainní atá riachtanach chun an reachtaíocht seo a chur i bhfeidhm. Ó thaobh impleachtaí airgeadais de, deirtear sa mheabhrán míniúcháin agus airgeadais a fuaireamar leis an mBille seo:

Meastar gurb é a bheidh sa tsábháil a leanfaidh as Cuid 3 den Bhille ná sábháil tuairim is €100,000 sa bhliain agus sábháil suas go €500,000 gach cúig bliana. Ní shamhlaítear go leanfaidh aon chostais bhreise don Státchiste as na Codanna eile den Bhille.

Tá sé ráite go soiléir ag an Aire Stáit go bhfuil céimeanna éagsúla glactha le 10 nó 15 bliain anuas. Bunaíodh Coimisiún na Gaeltachta, rinne an staidéar cuimsitheach teangeolaíoch moltaí faoi leith maidir leis an nGaeilge a shábháil sna ceantair Ghaeltachta agus d'fhoilsigh an Rialtas roimhe seo straitéis i leith na Gaeilge agus an straitéis 20 bliain don Ghaeilge. Ní chreideann éinne i measc pobal na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta gur féidir an straitéis 20 bliain agus an méid uaillmhianach atá luaite i gclár an Rialtais a chur i bhfeidhm gan mhaoiniú breise a chur ar fáil. Níl mé ag caint ar an mhaoiniú atá ar fáil faoi láthair, ach maoiniú breise.

Tuigeann duine ar bith atá ag plé le comharchumann nó comhlacht pobal-bunaithe Gaeltachta le blianta fada anuas go bhfuil gearradh déanta orthu le cúpla bliana anuas. Rinne an Rialtas a chuaigh romhainn agus an Rialtas seo laghduithe ar an ciste atá ar fáil dóibh. Is ar éigean atá siad in ann feidhmiú ar an méid atá i gceist. Táimid ag caint freisin faoi acmhainn breise ó thaobh pleanáil teanga. Tá méid áirithe den acmhainn sin le fáil taobh istigh den Roinn agus — b'fhéidir — san údarás. Os rud é go bhfuil plean uaillmhianach den chineál seo i gceist, caithfear breis acmhainní a chur ar fáil ó thaobh pleanála teanga de. Beidh costais ag baint leis sin. Tá sé an-deacair glacadh leis na himpleachtaí airgeadais atá luaite — seachas tuilleadh infheistíochta sna cheantair Ghaeltachta, san údarás agus in aonad pleanála teanga na Roinne, srl., a bheith i gceist, go mbeidh "sábháil tuairim is €100,000 sa bhliain agus sábháil suas go €500,000 gach cúig bliana" i gceist. Ba bhreá liom soiléiriú a fháil ar chéard go díreach atá i gceist ag an Aire Stáit leis an sábháil sin agus cé as a dtiocfaidh an tsábháil sin. An é atá i gceist aige ná nuair a laghdófar bord an údaráis, má leantar leis an bplean, ó 20 duine go dtí 12, go mbaineann an €100,000 sa bhliain leis an caiteachas nó an t-airgead a thugtar do bhaill bhoird Stáit? An é atá i gceist freisin go mbaineann an €500,000 leis an toghchán a bhíonn ann d'Údarás na Gaeltachta. Más ea, beidh muid ag rá, ach an oiread leis an méid a dúirt an Seanadóir Barrett ar ball, nach féidir luach a chur ar an daonlathas. Tuigimid go gcaithfidh an tAire airgead a shábháil. Bheadh muid ag moladh go gcaithfidh toghchán a bheith ann. Más ceist airgid amháin í, d'fhéadfaí an toghchán a reachtáil ag an am céanna agus a bhíonn an toghchán comhairle chontae ar siúl, nó in aimsir reifrinn nó olltoghcháin. Tá bealaí eile leis an airgead seo a shábháil.

Tá daoine i bpobal na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta ar buille gurb é atá ag tarlú ná go bhfuiltear ag baint de dhaonlathas pobal na gceantar Gaeltachta agus nach bhfuil de bhrabach ar sin ach sábháil €100,000 sa bhliain. Cuireann sin olc ar dhaoine. Muna bhfuil ann ach an tsábháil sin, measann daoine gur chóir go mbeadh an tsábháil sin le fáil in áiteanna eile. Maidir leis an alt áirithe seo, tuigeann muid go gcaithfear an cumhacht sin a thabhairt don Aire, ach ardaíonn sin ceisteanna eile maidir le costas, maoiniú agus acmhainní do na ceantair Ghaeltachta agus don straitéis agus faoi fheidhmiú Bhille na Gaeltachta.

I share the concerns of Senator Ó Clochartaigh in regard to expenses. They arise in two ways in respect of the savings alleged under the Bill. The claim is that there will be €100,000 per year savings in expenses by cutting the size of the board from 20 to 12 people, that is, a total of €8,500 per head. Is there any evidence that the existing elected board members of Údarás na Gaeltachta were involved in excessive use of expense accounts? Was the matter ever referred to the Comptroller and Auditor General? Will the replacement county councillors be less onerous when it comes to expenses? Many county councillors do not have a reputation for going easy on expenses. How was this figure comprised? If it was a matter of concern, why was it not examined before now?

The claim is to save €2 million over ten years. This is made up of €100,000 in running expenses plus two elections costing €500,000 each. However, the elections have never cost €500,000. I examined the Estimates for the Department. The last election cost €300,000 and that was five years ago. Inflation might be at a rate of approximately 10%. I am unsure where the 66% increase in the cost of running Gaeltacht elections has occurred since the last time they were held. If the Department was concerned about the high cost of elections for the údarás, did it ever seek to run them in conjunctions with other elections? These numbers should have been scrutinised elsewhere in the Houses to ensure they stand up.

I am concerned that travel expenses within the Department are rising rapidly. There is a danger that whatever we save by abolishing or reducing the number of elected people on that board from 20 to 12 people would be offset by the rapidly increasing travel and subsistence budget of the bureaucracy in the Department. I understand it has increased by 23% this year. Would the savings ever have accrued to the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, or the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Howlin, under this section?

The high cost of language studies arises under this section. Senator Ó Domhnaill referred to figures of €25,000 and €650,000 for implementation. If people are already speaking Irish spontaneously in return for some voting rights, then let us accept that as a gift and a bargain and continue to promote and encourage the spoken language. The economics of this legislation need some scrutiny.

I echo the concern expressed by my colleague, Senator Ó Domhnaill. The Irish language groups that have contacted us indicated that there is considerable vagueness surrounding the Bill in one area relating to expenses. I have no wish to dwell too much on the reason the Minister of State wishes to abolish the elections. That will arise under a different amendment, which is questionable anyway. I am keen to hear the Minister of State's justification for it.

My understanding is that in the case of the board of Údarás, the saving in expenses incurred by each member over a five year period will amount to between €400,000 and €450,000. The Minister of State has not indicated exactly how much money will be given in terms of the resources. Further, he suggested that the Bill is budget neutral. I have no wish to labour the point but it seems that the Minister of State will expect many local language organisations in the various designated areas to fund this themselves. He has given no indication of how it will be funded. There is a need for the Minister of State to explain to the House exactly how he will resource it. The explanation seems to be altogether inadequate based on the figures given by Senator Ó Domhnaill in respect of one small part of what will be a larger designated area in An Spidéal.

The outcome of the decision of the Minister of State represents an issue as well. I realise this is scoring a political point and I make no apology for it. Based on the current configuration, the five members to be appointed from the local authorities will almost certainly come from the Government parties. This is because the councils in the areas currently designated under the údarás are all controlled by either Fine Gael or a combination of Fine Gael and the Labour Party. There is nothing in the Bill to indicate the view of the Minister of State on how these councils will nominate people. Will the Minister of State introduce a proportionality clause? This could operate in the same way as for elected members of local authorities who are nominated to regional assemblies. That system is based on proportionality rather than a majority. In other words there is a grouping of four councillors per member.

That may be more relevant to a different section.

I fully accept that but this is in the context of the whole question and it relates to the savings the Minster of State indicated will materialise as a direct result of the ending of democratic elections. Subsequent appointments will be made and I simply wish to make that point. My core question was also raised by Senator Ó Domhnaill and Senator Barrett. Will the Minister of State clarify exactly how much this will cost and where the money will come from? On the basis of the figures provided by the Minister of State so far, it would appear to be altogether inadequate.

Tááthas orm go dtuigeann na Seanadóirí go gcaithfidh muid feidhmiú taobh istigh de na cuinsí atá orainn i láthair na huair maidir le staid airgid an Stáit. Sin ráite, cuirfear €60 milliún ar fáil as an Státchiste don rannóg den Roinn a bhaineann le Gaeilge, Gaeltacht agus oileáin. Ní suim shuarach í sin. Tá an t-airgead sin ag dul chuig eagraíochtaí atá ag saothrú sna Gaeltachtaí agus taobh amuigh de na Gaeltachtaí i gcur chun cinn na teanga. D'fhéadfaí a rá go bhfuil siad ag déanamh oibre a bhfuil an-ghaolmhar leis an obair a bheidh á dhéanamh acu nuair a bheidh an reachtaíocht curtha i gcríoch. Níl trácht ansin faoi go leor acmhainní eile a cuirfear ar fáil le haghaidh cur chun cinn na Gaeilge i Ranna eile. Deireann an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna go gcosnóidh sé€500 milliún orthu agus tá seirbhísí eile a chuirtear ar fáil i Ranna eile trí mheán na Gaeilge. Tá craoltóireacht agus foilsitheoireacht, TG4 agus Raidió na Gaeltachta ann freisin. Nuair a cuirtear iad seo uilig san áireamh, tá slam mór airgid ag dul leis an nGaeilge a chur chun cinn.

Maidir le cad atá romhainn sa bhliain reatha, ní féidir liomsa a rá ag an bpointe seo. Beidh cruinnithe ag tosú gan mhoill maidir le Meastacháin na bliana seo chugainn agus is cinnte nuair a bheidh an plé ag dul ar aghaidh maidir leo siúd, go dtiocfaidh na dualgais agus na freagrachtaí atá orainn i gcur chun cinn na straitéise isteach san áireamh chomh maith.

Cuirim fáilte roimh an méid adúirt an tAire agus aontaím leis gur maith an tsuim airgid í€60 milliún in aghaidh na bliana. Ach níor fhreagair an tAire Stáit an cheist a chuir mé maidir le cé as ar tháinig an figiúr €100,000. An bhféadfadh sé soiléiriú a dhéanamh ar sin? Tá muide ag déanamh tuairimíochta go mbaineann an tsábháil €100,000 in aghaidh na bliana b'fhéidir le baill bhoird a bheith ag ísliúó 20 go dtí 12. Cé as ar tháinig an figiúr sin agus cá bhfuil an tsábháil de €500,000 ag teacht as. An mbaineann sin leis an toghchán agus an é sin amháin atá i gceist?

Maidir leis na hacmhainní, tá mise tar éis a bheith bainteach le cuid mhaith comhlachtaí pobail agus comharchumainn bunaithe i gceantar Conamara. Gearradh siar ar na deontais do na heagraíochtaí agus is ar éigean a chlúdaíonn an deontas a fhaigheann siad anois ón údarás an pá a bhaineann le bainisteoir chomharchumainn nó bainisteoir eagraíocht pobalbhunaithe agus roinnt costais a bhaineann le riarachán. Má réitíonn ceann de na heagraíochtaí pobalbhunaithe sin plean teanga, glacaim leis, fiú má tá siad sách coimeádach, ar nós ranganna Gaeilge, seirbhísí tacaíochta breise a bheith ar fáil do lánúin atá ag tógáil a gclann le Gaeilge, imeachtaíóige, áiseanna a chur ar fáil sa phobal agus mar sin de, níl na hacmhainní ar fáil faoi láthair do na heagraíochtaí sin as an buiséad atá acu anois le sin a chur i bhfeidhm. Muna bhfuil airgead breise in áit éigean san údarás nach bhfuil á chaitheamh, cé as an bhfuil an t-airgead sin ag teacht? Lá i ndiaidh lae nuair a chuireann muid ceisteanna maidir le cistí eile, deirtear linn go bhfuil cúrsaí gann agus nach bhfuil aon airgead breise le fáil. Má ghlacann muid leis sin, i gcomhthéacs ceantair teanga — tá 19 acu le bheith ann — teastóidh buiséad breise, fiú leis na bunrudaí breise sin a chur ar fáil.

Tá sé an-deacair dom an bun fhealsúnacht atá ag an Aire Stáit maidir leis an mBille seo, nach mbeidh aon chaiteachas breise ag teastáil, a thuiscint. Ní dóigh liom go luíonn sin le réasún, muna bhfuil sé chun gearradh siar ar áiseanna, acmhainní nó rudaí eile atá ag tarlú cheana féin sna ceantair Ghaeltachta. Tá sé fíor-thábhachtach, má tá muid chun cead a thabhairt sa Bhille seo maidir le foráil (4), an caiteachas seo a dhéanamh i gcomhair leis an tAire Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe. Ba bhreá linn soiléiriú a fháil ón Aire Stáit. Cá bhuil muid ag dul ó thaobh chúrsaí acmhainní maidir le Bille na Gaeilge agus forbairt agus cur i bhfeidhm na straitéise 20 bliain don Ghaeilge?

Ar dtús, beidh an bord níos lú agus is cinnte go mbeidh sábháil ansin. Beidh níos lú cruinnithe ar siúl mar beidh coistí réigiúnacha ann agus beidh sábhail ansin chomh maith. Maidir leis an údarás, cur i gcás i mbliana, ainneoin na deacrachtaí airgid, tá€3.273 milliún á chur ar fáil sa bhuiséad reatha don údarás a théann chuig eagraíochtaí pobail atá ag plé agus ag cur chun cinn na Gaeilge sa Ghaeltacht. Ar ndóigh, beidh freagrachtaí orthur sin faoi choimirce an údaráis a bheith páírteach insan straitéis teanga. San am amach romhainn, caithfear tosaíochtaí a leagan amach. Beidh an straitéis ar cheann de na tosaíochtaí sin agus na hacmhainní atá again — tá siad teoranta — a úsáid dá réir ionas go mbeidh luach ár gcuid airgid againn. Sin ceann de na dúshláin atá amach romhainn ag an bpointe seo agus muid ag tabhairt isteach an Achta.

In Vote No. 33 of the Estimates for the Department, the number of public sector employees goes down by 5%, but their travel and subsistence goes up by23%. Therefore, they are spending 28% more on travel and subsistence, yet they tell the Minister that reducing the board of the údarás will save €100,000. These savings do not add up. We asked earlier how it was that cutting out elections would save €500,000. They have never cost that amount and could easily be run with other elections. Therefore, that saving is also questionable.

Maidir leis an bpointe a rinne an tAire Stáit, glacaim leis go bhfuil sé ag bunú cuid mhaith dá thuairimíocht maidir leis An Bille Gaeltachta ar an mhéid a bhí sa staidéar cuimsitheach teangeolaíochta. An rud a bhí molta sa staidéar sin ná go mbeadh saineolas pleanála teanga ar fáil le pleananna teanga a chur i bhfeidhm. Taobh istigh de na cúinsí atá luaite ag an Aire Stáit, sílim go bhfuil an t-airgead atáá chaitheamh ag Údarás na Gaeltachta á chaitheam go stuama. Molaim an tAire Stáit as sin as an méid teoranta atá aige. Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil aon chomharchumann nó comhlacht pobail ag cur pingine ar bith amú. Dá bhrí sin, má tá an saineolas pleanála teanga seo le cur i bhfeidhm agus má tá pleananna teanga le cur i bhfeidhm, rud atá ag teastáil go géar, ní thagann sin saor in aisce. An é go bhfuil an tAire Stáit ag iarraidh ar an dream a thagann amach as Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, a bhfuil máistreachtaí anois déanta acu sa phleanáil teanga, oibriú saor in aisce nó dul ar JobBridge nó rud éigin den chineál sin leis na pleananna teanga a chur i bhfeidhm? Ní dhéanann seo ciall ar bith ó thaobh nach féidir acmhainní breise a chur ar fáil.

Ní chreidim é agus ní dóigh liom go gcreideann an tAire Stáit féin gur féidir é a dhéanamh gan acmhainní. Cinnte, ní chreideann na heagraíochtaí Gaeilge agus na comhlachtaí pobalbhunaithe agus na comharchumainn a bhí ag caint liomsa gur féidir an obair a chur i gcrích gan acmhainní. An é go bhfuil muid ag cur dallamullóg orainn féin maidir leis seo? Tá Bille Gaeltachta á thabhairt i bhfeidhm, rud atá ag teastáil, ach muna féidir na hacmhainní a chur i bhfeidhm, an bhfuil muid chun an leas atá ag teastáil a fháil — an méid daoine atá ag labhairt Gaeilge ar fud na tíre seo a mhéadú go dtí an t-uasmhéid atá ag teastáil uainn? Nó an é go bhfuil muid ag dul ag coinneáil na Gaeltachtaí agus cúrsaí Gaeilge ar thacaí beatha, ag cur cosúlachta ar an scéal go bhfuil muid ag déanamh rud éigin dearfach ar son na teanga, nuair atá an rud atá muid ag déanamh i ndáiríre chun fíor dochar a dhéanamh amach is amach don teanga? An leithscéal é go bhfuil muid ag feidhmiú ar son na teanga nuair nach bhfuil? Muna mbeidh na hacmhainní ann, muna mbeidh airgead breise ann, ní fiú dhá thráithnín an straitéis ná an Bille.

Bhí mé ag éisteacht go cúramach leis an Aire Stáit agus tá an ceart aige; tá€60 milliún ar fáil i mbuiséad na Roinne i mbliana do chúrsaí Gaeilge agus Gaeltachta agus mar sin de. Tá an ceart aige fosta nuair a deireann sé go bhfuil €3.7 milliún ag buiséad reatha an údaráis agus go bhfuil cuid de sin á caitheamh ar na comhlachtaí pobalbhunaithe agus ar na comharchumainn. Ach, ar an drochuair, is laghdúé sin. Ní pointe polaitiúil atá mé ag iarraidh a dhéanamh anseo, mar tuigim go bhfuil laghdú de bhrí go raibh brú ar na Meastacháin. An pointe atá ann ná, má ghlacann muid leis an €3.7 milliún, beidh ar an údarás cuid den airgead sin a ghearradh ar na comlachtaí pobalbhunaithe agus ar na comharchumainn. Tá na comhlachtaí agus na comharchumainn sin beo faoi láthair ar airgead atá an-teoranta agus ní bheidh ar chumas acu aon obair bhreise a iompar gan maoiniú breise a bheith ar fáil.

Maidir leis an údarás, tá sé faoi bhrú foirne fosta. Tá a fhios agam, ó bheith ag plé le feidhmeannaigh an údaráis nach bhfuil na foirne ag an údarás faoi láthair ábalta le bheith ag iompar breis oibre, cosúil le pleananna teanga a réiteach agus obair mar sin a dhéanamh. Tá ceist anseo faoi acmhainní reatha leis na pleananna éagsúla a chur i bhfeidhm. Tá ceist ann fosta faoi acmhainní foirne, san údarás ach go háirithe. Ar ndóigh, tá ceist ghinearálta faoi Fhoras na Gaeilge fosta. Maidir leis an €60 milliún atá ar fáil i mbliana, tá sé sin go léir fá choinne réimsí atá ar bun taobh istigh den Roinn faoi láthair. Tá muidne ag caint ar obair bhreise atá i gceist teacht i bhfeidhm de bhrí go bhfuil an Bille seo os comhair Tithe an Oireachtais. Má ghlactar leis, beidh cúraimí breise ar Údarás na Gaeltachta agus ar cibé eagras taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht a bheidh ag cur an Achta i bhfeidhm. Níl sin sonrach.

Má táthar leis an €60 milliún atá ar fáil don Roinn i mbliana gan an tAcht nó an Bille seo a chur san áireamh a úsáid, beidh scéimeanna éagsúla eile á ghearradh siar leis an mBille seo a chur i bhfeidhm. Aontaím leis an Aire Stáit go bhfuilimid beo in am deacair agus go bhfuil an t-airgead atá ar fáil don Stát íslithe cuid mhór. Glacann muid uilig leis sin. Ach is ceist í seo faoin Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge agus faoi an dóigh a bhfuiltear chun an straitéis sin a chur i bhfeidhm agus na spriocanna éile inti a chomhlíonadh. Caithfidh airgead a bheith ar fáil ón Rialtas le haghaidh sin a dhéanamh agus sin bun agus barr an scéil. Creidim i mo chroí go dtuigeann an tAire Stáit sin, go bhfuil an buiséad de €60 milliún aige agus go gcaithfidh sé troid a chur chun tosaigh ó thaobh na Meastacháin don bhliain seo chugainn. Guím gach rath air san obair agus troid sin a bheidh sé ag déanamh i gcomhairle lena chuid feidhmeannaigh, ach mar atá an Bille seo leagtha síos, gan an t-airgead a bheith ag dul leis, tá fadhb mhór leis.

Tá a fhios agam nach bhfuil mórán ama fágtha le haghaidh na díospóireachta seo. An féidir síneadh ama a thabhairt dúinn?

In the hope that we will complete Part 1 of the Bill, I propose an amendment to the Order of Business, that we adjourn at 4.40 p.m. I hope we have everybody's co-operation for this.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

Mar adúirt mé, tá laincisí airgid orainn. Caithfimid a bheith réalaíoch agus an úsáid is fearr a bhaint as na hacmhainní atá againn. Mar atá ráite agam cheana féin, braithfidh an t-airgead a bheidh ar fáil don bhliain seo chugainn ar phróiseas na meastacháin. Luaigh duine éigin an gá atá ann le haghaidh máistreacht sa phleanáil teanga. Tááthas orm a rá go bhfuil an máistreacht sin ag daoine i mo Roinn. Tá súil agam go mbeimid ábalta úsáid a bhaint as na scileanna, an taithí agus an t-eolas atá acu. Tá cáilíochtaí i bpleanáil teanga ag oifigigh áirithe in Údarás na Gaeltachta. Beidh dualgais a bhaineann leis an mBille seo acu chomh maith. Mar a dúirt an Seanadóir Barrett, chosain an toghchán deireanach, a tharla seacht mbliana ó shin, €360,000. Tá a dhóthain tarlaithe ó shin. Ní chuireann sé sin san áireamh an méid a chosain an obair riaracháin a rinne foireann mo Roinne agus foireann an údaráis. Nuair a chuirfear an t-iomlán san áireamh, is cinnte go bhfuil an figiúr níos mó ná€500,000.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 5
Question proposed: "That section 5 stand part of the Bill."

This section, which relates to repeals and revocations, provides that "each Act specified in column (2) of Part 1 of the Schedule is repealed to the extent specified in column (3)" and that certain statutory instruments are also to be revoked. The Acts to be repealed, as listed in the Schedule, are the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 1956 and the Údarás na Gaeltachta Act 1979. The Údarás na Gaeltachta (Amendment) Act 2010 is missing from the list. I believe its omission is incorrect. While I do not support the Minister of State in this regard, I suggest that if he wants to proceed in this way, he needs to repeal the 2010 Act, which specifies that údarás elections have to be held before 1 October next. That was what the former Minister, Mr. Carey, said when he brought the legislation in question before the Oireachtas on 6 July 2010. If that Act is now repealed, it will remain the law. I do not support the plan to postpone the elections further. If that is to be done, however, the law passed by the Oireachtas in July 2010 will have to be repealed. If that does not happen, I assume the election will have to go ahead before 1 October next. That does not seem to be the Minister of State's intention, although I wish it were. The law remains in place until it is repealed. Perhaps legal people like Senator Byrne can comment on that. It seems to me that a defect in Part 1 of the Bill will have to be remedied if we are to proceed.

Chuirfinn fáilte roimh aon soiléiriú ar an ábhar seo. Sílim go bhfuil pointe tábhachtach ardaithe ag an Seanadóir Barrett. B'fhéidir go bhfuil duine éigin maith ag cabhrú leis. Má tá an tArd-Aighne agus oifigigh na Ranna ar fad tar éis an reachtaíocht seo a léamh, mar a dúradh linn i gcomhthéacs na forálacha roimhe seo, agus má tá faillí beag déanta pé scéal é, b'fhéidir go bhfuil an do-earráideacht a bhaineann leis an Ard-Aighne as an áireamh sa chás seo. Ba mhaith liom soiléiriú a fháil.

I want to congratulate Senator Barrett on his astute detection of this defect in the legislation. I assume it is a fairly damaging discovery. If I had the intelligence to spot it, I might have made a tactical decision to allow it to go through before challenging it at a later stage. That might have been more damaging to the legislation.

The Senator is being mischievous.

I congratulate Senator Barrett. He has shown real foresight and political intelligence in detecting this error. Not many people go to the trouble of reading these Bills in detail, but it is clear that Senator Barrett has done so. His contributions to today's debate have been an adequate demonstration of the value of this House.

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Seanadóir as an bpointe teicniúil seo a ardú. Déanfar é a scrúdú. Beidh méábalta teacht ar ais agus tuairisc a thabhairt don Seanad ar an Tuarascáil.

Is dóigh liom go gcaithfidh muid an t-alt seo a scriosadh ón mBille. Muna bhfuil an tAire Stáit cinnte faoin alt seo, ba cheart dúinn vótáil ina choinne agus ant-alt a bhaint amach as an mBille.

Nílimid cinnte fós. Níl sé ceart an t-alt a scriosadh gan bheith cinnte faoi.

Caithfidh sé——

The Bill can be amended on Report Stage.

Ní féidir an t-alt a scriosadh ar an Tuarascáil. Is é seo an t-aon deis amháin atá againn an t-alt lofa seo a scriosadh ón mBille. Níl an tAire Stáit nó a gcuid oifigigh cinnte mar gheall ar an bpointe a rinne an Seanadóir Barrett. Is é an réiteach ar an bhfadhb seo ná an t-alt a scriosadh.

The House is being asked whether this section should form part of the Bill. The section can be amended on Report Stage.

The technical point made by Senator Barrett will be examined. I will report back to the House on it on Report Stage.

It is normal to do so.

It is normal procedure in the other House.

It is normal in this House as well.

The same procedure applies in this House.

Nuair a chuireamar ceisteanna ar an Aire Stáit, bhí sé iontach cinnte go raibh scrúdú iomlán déanta ag an Ard-Aighne ar an mBille ar fad. Dúirt sé go raibh cóip den Bhille curtha go dtí gach Roinn Stáit. Luaigh sé an tAire Dlí agus Cirt agus Comhionannais. Da mba rud é go raibh na hoifigigh sna Ranna sin chomh géarchúiseach leis an Seanadóir Barrett, a rinne a chuid oibre maidir leis an faillí seo sa reachtaíocht go dícheallach, shílfeá go mbeadh an fhaillí tógtha faoi deara acu. Conas is féidir linn breathnú anois ar chuid mhaith de na geallúintí eile a thug an tAire Stáit dúinn agus é chomh míchinnte faoin ábhar iontach bunúsach seo? Mar a dúirt an Seanadóir Norris, b'fhéidir go mbeadh sé níos fearr muna mbeadh an rud seo tógtha faoi deara go fóill, ionas go mbeadh an toghchán ann i mbliana. Tá sé tógtha faoi deara, áfach. Tá sé an-deacair againn tacú leis an cuid seo den Bhille, más é sin an cheist.

As regards the Chair, it is totally normal practice to consider whether this section should stand part of the Bill at this time. It can be amended on Report Stage if that is what the House wishes.

It seems to me, following what has been said by Senator Ó Clochartaigh, that Senator Barrett's point is well made. It is worth reminding the House that Senator Barrett pointed out earlier that the Minister of State told the House in good faith that this had been sent to the Office of the Attorney General — and to the Departments of law, culture, heritage and Gaeltacht and whatever else — to be proofed. Obviously, they did not do a very good job on it. I will sit down to let Senator Barrett have the last word because it was his discovery.

I propose that we should not proceed with section 5 today. Perhaps we can be given advice on it next week.

Hear, hear. I second that proposal.

We cannot do that. I have to deal with each section as it arises.

The Act mentioned by Senator Barrett extended the term of office of the elected members of the board until the end of September 2012. As far as I am concerned, I have absolute and full confidence in the interpretation and the views of the Attorney General. I cannot see any reason we should not proceed with this section today. I propose that we do so.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 23; Níl, 12.

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Clune, Deirdre.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Comiskey, Michael.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • D’Arcy, Jim.
  • D’Arcy, Michael.
  • Gilroy, John.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Heffernan, James.
  • Higgins, Lorraine.
  • Keane, Cáit.
  • Moloney, Marie.
  • Moran, Mary.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • O’Keeffe, Susan.
  • O’Neill, Pat.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • Whelan, John.

Níl

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Mac Conghail, Fiach.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Norris, David.
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Power, Averil.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Paul Coghlan and Susan O’Keeffe; Níl, Senators Sean D. Barrett and Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.
Question declared carried.
Progress reported; Committee to sit again.

When is it proposed to sit again?

At 12 noon on Tuesday, 3 July 2012.