Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2016: Committee Stage (Resumed)

SECTION 4
Debate resumed on amendment No. 17:
In page 5, between lines 18 and 19, to insert the following:
“(8) Where an area ceases to be designated as a natural heritage area under subsection (3)(b)(ii), without prejudice to turbary rights for household use, commercial harvesting shall not be permitted.”. (Senator Alice-Mary Higgins)

We are resuming on amendment No. 17 to section 4. Amendments Nos. 17 and 18 are related and are being discussed together. Senator Higgins is in possession.

Amendments Nos. 17 and 18 relate to what happens after an area ceases to be designated as a natural heritage area under subsection 3(b), basically after the de-designation process. I want to mark down that since we last debated this issue a climate emergency and biodiversity crisis have been declared. We have acknowledged the urgency of the issues we face with respect to the climate and the interlinked crisis in biodiversity. We discussed previously the way sections of this Bill do something to address biodiversity but perhaps not the key issue of pollination and pollinator plants. The Bill falls short of recognising the issues of climate, carbon sink and the implications in terms of emissions of changes to our current peatland protections and designation.

We have all been of the view that the Government should consider withdrawing the Bill as a whole and reconsidering it over the summer. The areas of bogland were added at a late stage and the Minister should go back to the drawing board with the Bill. The Taoiseach said in the Dáil today that we have declared a climate emergency but we do not necessarily have all the resources yet in place to take action. One resource we have which we underuse is that of political will and courage. It is open to us to decide to be politically courageous in not taking a step in the wrong direction and literally to stop digging in terms of the commercial exploitation of our peatlands because we need those peatlands to deliver in terms of biodiversity. We need what they can do for us in acting as carbon sinks.

I ask the Minister of State to consider taking a politically courageous act of moving backwards on this Bill and putting it aside. Failing that I urge him and other Members of the House to support me on amendments Nos. 17 and 18. They do not seek to affect turbary rights, namely, rights of access to bogs that have been passed down through families for generations. Rather they address the exploitation of commercial turf cutting, which is quite different. We need to start making that distinction.

As I have said in the House previously, there is an intergenerational justice issue not only for the next generation in terms of climate change who will suffer consequences if we continue to dig ourselves deeper into an unsustainable route of emissions production, but for those families who have turbary rights because one generation effectively has used up the equivalent of four or five previous generations’ use of turf and they will potentially use up the opportunity to exercise turbary rights for the next generation.

I had a very interesting morning at the Young Philosopher Awards talking to children about their perspective on what is valuable, what matters and what is important to them. Climate and their environment are extremely important to them and they take it very seriously.

If they inherit turbary rights, they may choose to cut less and, perhaps, appreciate their access to the bog in different ways, such as in terms of the wildlife it supports or the fact that peatlands, though they cover only 17% of the land, are estimated to store over 53% of the carbon. The key point is that it should be their decision to make. If we allow commercial cutting and the use of sausage machines and other commercial cutting machines on de-designated bogs, we will damage not only Ireland and the planet, but also the next generation and its freedom to have a choice and relationship with those boglands.

That is why I have tabled two amendments, one of which proposes that after a bog is de-designated, there will be turbary rights. Indeed, de-designation may open up other matters discussed in this House such as cycleways, pathways and other recreational activities. One thing it should not open up is commercial cutting. We should not add new areas for commercial cutting while going into a period when we are facing massive fines and, even more importantly, irreversible climate change and carbon production consequences. I ask the Minister of State to ensure that no bog designated under the Bill is used for commercial cutting.

Amendment No. 18, which is a far more conservative amendment, seeks to bring the situation in line with the statement by Bord na Móna that it will not cut turf after 2030. Similarly, there should be no commercial harvesting on these bogs after 2030. The amendment simply aims to bring the bogs de-designated under the Bill in line with stated general policy. Bord na Móna’s target of 2030 is too far away - we cannot afford that and need to bring it back to 2025 or sooner. I reserve the right to bring amendments in that regard on Report Stage. It is almost impossible, nevertheless, to argue against amendment No. 18 as it simply brings the situation for these bogs into line with stated public policy, inadequate though it may be as a response to a climate emergency. I ask the Minister of State to consider accepting amendment No. 18. I hope the House will find the political courage to support amendment No. 17.

I apologise for my lateness. It is unfortunate that Committee Stage is being held over several weeks because it interrupts the flow of the discussion of the Bill. The issues raised by the Senator regarding de-designation were previously discussed. This section of the Bill seeks to address the changes made in terms of encouraging extra designation of State-owned lands and de-designation of some privately owned lands in order to accommodate the difficulties that have played out in the media over many years in regard to turf cutting.

On what we need to do to reduce turf cutting for private use and in the context of Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, SEAI, house retrofitting schemes and so on, I would like to see a greater focus on homes that use turf. If they were targeted for insulation schemes and deep retrofitting, it would reduce the need for them to cut and burn turf. Of course, there is no point in doing that only for the plots then to be used to cut turf for someone else to burn. These are some of the issues in this area.

As I indicated previously, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment brought in regulations to provide that large-scale peat extraction, that is, on areas of more than 30 ha, would be actively controlled by licensing under the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA. The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government recently advised that the development of a new regulatory framework for smaller-scale peat extraction in respect of areas of less than 30 ha will be initiated and progressed in consultation with stakeholders. I will ask departmental officials to engage with the Department on the matter and the use of certain kinds of machinery in bogs. The Senator referred to the use of sausage machines in designated areas. However, it would not be appropriate to regulate commercial turf cutting through the Bill and I will not be accepting the Senator's amendments.

I welcome the proposals of the Minister of State in regard to retrofitting. We discussed fuel poverty and other issues around social protection and payments that might be needed, and that is something we may develop further. It is noteworthy that there is a parallel debate regarding the potential for carbon storage payments that may emerge under the Common Agricultural Policy. It would be a pity to damage our capacity to put forward proposals in that regard in a meaningful way in the manner that the Heritage Act, which relates to hedge-cutting, damaged our credibility in regard to some biodiversity and environmental stewardship payments that may be emerging. If a species is extinct, and we have seen the reports that many of our natural species are teetering on the edge of extinction, there will be no stewardship payments for the protection of those species.

On the smaller areas of bogland, Ireland is a small country, but it is one of the wealthier countries in the world, even though there is great poverty here. It fits within the global picture. Similarly, each of these small areas of bogland fits within the tapestry of our nation and what we do collectively. We must be clear that there is not a size at which responsibility kicks in. I have seen people taking action. I visited Malawi and saw community projects taking place in villages that had almost nothing. The people were making difficult decisions on how they stewarded their natural resources and protected trees in order to protect their soil because they were thinking in a long-term way in spite of the most pressing needs. We need joined-up thinking such as that.

I welcome the comments of the Minister of State in regard to the types of machinery that may be used. However, we cannot wait for further legislation to be brought forward. He is aware that the Bill has taken four or five years to be progressed and the entire process has taken up to 12 years. The Bill is an opportunity to address these issues, although other sections may be more relevant in this regard. What will happen to a bog after de-designation is crucial. It is not sufficient for the Minister of State to decide to open a bog up for commercial cutting by de-designating it and leaving it to what might happen in the hope that other legislation may be brought forward to regulate what happens after de-designation. Perhaps a time clause should be included such that bogs may only be de-designated after regulation is put in place in respect of commercial cutting. There are many ways around this problem. We can approach it from different angles. I recognise that this area overlaps with the responsibilities of other Ministers, but climate change requires a whole-of-Government approach and responsibility. I hope there will be reporting on carbon budgets and that each Department will answer for the contribution it has made. For example, if commercial cutting continues under the Bill and we face fines from Europe, will it be the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht which will take the hit in terms of those fines and lose funding from other things it does to protect and support parts of Ireland that need protection and support? Will the Minister in charge of the regulation of turf cutting be held responsible? Who will take responsibility? It is ultimately our responsibility as politicians to decide what happens and how we join it up.

I appreciate and support the many good ideas of the Minister of State. However, just because we are doing good things does not mean we must counterbalance that with concessions or steps that are wrong or in the wrong direction. I will engage on the machinery issue as if it can be incorporated into the Bill or in parallel with it, it would address that core concern. My intention is not to stop people going to spend a day on the bog with their family. I wish to ensure that day in the bog has birdsong, that it is in a natural environment and that a day in the bog can be understood by future generations, rather than being something they read about.

I support the amendment to ensure that where natural heritage areas are revoked it does not inadvertently allow for the expansion of commercial turf cutting rights. The intention of the legislation was to create an avenue in which turf cutting could be facilitated and maintained, largely for personal use, and done so with regard to the ability of turf cutters to be custodians of the plots they conserve. I do not think we should allow an avenue for plots to be bought up by people who would not maintain or conserve them in the same manner.

Amendment put:
The Committee divided: Tá, 9; Níl, 14.

  • Black, Frances.
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Craughwell, Gerard P.
  • Gavan, Paul.
  • Higgins, Alice-Mary.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • Marshall, Ian.
  • Mullen, Rónán.
  • Warfield, Fintan.

Níl

  • Burke, Colm.
  • Burke, Paddy.
  • Buttimer, Jerry.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Daly, Paul.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Hopkins, Maura.
  • Lawlor, Anthony.
  • Lombard, Tim.
  • Mulherin, Michelle.
  • O'Mahony, John.
  • O'Reilly, Joe.
  • Reilly, James.
  • Richmond, Neale.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Alice-Mary Higgins and Fintan Warfield; Níl, Senators John O'Mahony and Maura Hopkins.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 18:

In page 5, between lines 18 and 19, to insert the following:

“(8) Where an area ceases to be designated as a natural heritage area under subsection (3)(b)(ii), without prejudice to turbary rights for household use, commercial harvesting shall not be permitted beyond 2030.”.

Amendment put:
The Committee divided: Tá, 9; Níl, 14.

  • Black, Frances.
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Craughwell, Gerard P.
  • Gavan, Paul.
  • Higgins, Alice-Mary.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • Marshall, Ian.
  • Mullen, Rónán.
  • Warfield, Fintan.

Níl

  • Burke, Paddy.
  • Buttimer, Jerry.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Daly, Paul.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Hopkins, Maura.
  • Lawlor, Anthony.
  • Lombard, Tim.
  • Mulherin, Michelle.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Mahony, John.
  • Reilly, James.
  • Richmond, Neale.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Alice-Mary Higgins and Fintan Warfield; Níl, Senators John O'Mahony and Maura Hopkins.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 19:

In page 5, line 24, to delete “includes” and substitute “does not include”.

The amendment relates to the fact we have already discussed, which I will not discuss at length again, that blanket bogs were added to this Bill over the course of the debate on it. Blanket bogs have particular environmental benefits and also particular environmental vulnerabilities, as opposed to raised bog where there was a long period of study, research and scientific and social consideration. Blanket bogs were added as the Bill moved through the Dáil and that gives rise to significant concerns. When I talk to environmental groups or anyone active in this area, even those who are not specifically concerned with bogs but who are driven by concern for preserving natural areas, land erosion and the potential impact of, for example, the drainage of blanket bogs, they are concerned that blanket bogs have not been given the same consideration as raised bogs. In amendment No. 19, Senator Grace O'Sullivan and I ask the Minister not to include blanket bogs in the Bill in this way.

The Bill takes into account that for the 2014 natural heritage area, NHA, raised bog review, more than 270 individual raised bogs were examined. The individual raised bogs examined comprised the 53 raised bog special areas of conservation, SACs, the existing 75 NHA raised bogs, and more than 100 non-designated sites. Hence, within the Bill the definition of bog habitat refers to the candidate SACs that contain bog so that those sites may be taken into account in any review, as has been done for the 2014 raised bog NHA review. There is no provision in the Bill to provide for the de-designation of special areas of conservation. SAC sites are proposed for designation and designated under the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011. I would envisage that the main task for any future review of blanket bog NHAs would be to assess how those sites could contribute to the national conservation objective of maintaining blanket bog habitat or restoring it to a favourable conservation status. Therefore, any consideration of blanket bog SACs would be in that context rather than with a view to the de-designation of blanket bog SACs. Accordingly, I will not accept the amendment.

Nonetheless, the Bill does provide for and set out a route for the de-designation of NHAs, which are blanket bogs. Special SACs are protected under European law. It is not an option for us to de-designate them, so we cannot make too much of a virtue of the fact that we are not doing so. The fact is that there are provisions in this Bill, for example, in section 8(b) relating to blanket bogs and the environmental criteria which are there, whereby a comparison between blanket bogs is in itself considered sufficient for de-designation.

In respect to my colleague, Senator Grace O'Sullivan, who I know feels very strongly about this issue, I am going to withdraw the amendment and reintroduce it on Report Stage because I know she wishes to engage with the Minister of State on blanket bogs. I will not press the amendment at this point because I hope the Minister of State will engage with the Senator, either in between Stages or during the next Stage, to consider making this Bill narrower in its focus and therefore more related to previous research which, as the Minister of State himself described, considered, looked at, and examined a large number of specific raised bogs in the early part of development of this legislation, as opposed to blanket bogs, which fall into a whole other category of environment that has been included without the same kind of detailed work.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 20:

In page 5, line 31, after “function” to insert “and having regard to matters referred to in section 16(6)”.

The amendment has already been discussed so we cannot go into it. Is the amendment being pressed?

As I hope the Minister of State may engage with the amendment because it relates to the scientific criteria in section 16(6), I am not pressing it at this point, with the hope that we may have some scope to engage with section 16(6). I reserve the right to bring it back on Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 21:

In page 5, to delete lines 34 to 38.

Again, in respect to my colleague, Senator Grace O'Sullivan, and her desire to engage on this issue, I am going to withdraw it for now and reserve the right to reintroduce it on Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 4 agreed to.
NEW SECTIONS

Amendments Nos. 22 and 23 are related and may be taken together. Is that agreed? Agreed.

I move amendment No. 22:

In page 6, between lines 9 and 10, to insert the following:

Report on exercise of turbary rights

5. The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht shall, within twelve months of the passing of this Act, lay a report before both Houses of the Oireachtas containing guidelines and recommended thresholds in relation to the exercise of turbary rights including a definition, or definitions, of “household use”.”.

We have discussed turbary rights. I have discussed them at length and others have discussed them and their experiences in relation to them as well. This amendment aims to give practical effect to the discussion we have had, and this is a space where we can engage appropriately with this issue. We know that turbary rights can be exercised on natural heritage areas where there has been cutting. Usually, where there are turbary rights there has been cutting because it is a right that has been passed down. In those contexts, turbary rights are provided for. To my mind, it would be better if we preserved the natural heritage status of areas, where possible, while allowing appropriate and respectful exercise of turbary rights within them. In that regard, however, we need to look at what is appropriate in terms of turbary rights. The phrasing at the moment relates to household use, and given the extensive practice in respect of commercial cutting, we need to be clearer and have a definition of what we mean by household use. I would be genuinely interested in the Minister of State's thoughts on this. It would be of service if we were able to have clarity in this area, so people know what counts as household use.

I am not going to reiterate my points about intergenerational justice in respect of turbary rights, and the Minister of State knows them. A review such as this may be an opportunity to address those issues as well as to ensure that we have some form of predictability regarding our environmental targets. For example, if we have a definition of household use in respect of turbary rights and we know how many are exercising those rights, we can have at least some level of predictability as to the consequences of cutting in terms of emissions and how that fits in with our national climate strategy, for example.

I thank the Senator. The focus of the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and her Department is on the management, conservation and restoration of the SAC and NHA networks, which contain bog habitats. In this context, the National Raised Bogs Special Areas of Conservation Management Plan 2017-2022, which was approved by the Government and published in December 2017, sets out how the raised bog SACs are to be managed, conserved, and restored, and how the needs of domestic turf cutters are to be addressed through annual financial payments, relocation to non-designated bogs, and possible utilisation of the provisions of Article 6 of the habitats directive. The plan is similar for raised bog NHAs. The Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2016 provides for the Minister to conduct and complete the 2014 review of raised bog NHAs, to carry out a review or reviews of the other existing NHAs at his or her discretion, and to amend or revoke NHA orders and to make new ones arising from the 2014 review or future reviews. I do not believe it is appropriate to provide for the reports within the Bill as requested by the Senators, or for the Minister to produce such reports. Therefore I will not be accepting the Senators' amendments.

If the Bill was confined to the issues of natural heritage and that was its primary and clear focus, I would of course have to accept the Minister of State's points and bona fides. However, it is very clear from the criteria the Minister assigns him or herself for making decisions in this Bill that national, regional, and local economic, social, and cultural needs are placed in the centre of this, so I am not introducing an extraneous or new factor. I understand that national, regional, and local economic, social, and cultural needs are important issues, but the fact is that the Bill itself places those as issues to be considered alongside, and indeed given equal if not more than equal footing with environmental and natural heritage concerns. It is a little bit inconsistent if the decision whether an area of land will be protected is made by considering local economic social needs, while the Minister of State does not believe it is appropriate for him to think about turbary rights, which are absolutely at the centre of local economic social and cultural needs and local and economic social and cultural practice. There is an inconsistency here. If those factors were not addressed in the Bill, I would not be introducing this amendment, but they are, so if we are going to have them considered and if decisions are going to be made on the back of them, we need to know what goes into that decision. The Minister for State has described the processes around relocating rights to other areas, for example. That is something that can happen under this Bill, so we need to know what we are considering and what is involved.

This is a very appropriate amendment. It is simply a report but it sets some level of understanding. I am reiterating this all the time but these are issues on which we will need to report to ourselves because we need to know exactly what we are doing. Ireland has carbon targets and biodiversity targets. We need to know what is happening in relation to them, and one of the things we need to know in terms of cutting is how much is cut. We cannot simply introduce in this Bill a whole network of blind spots where we will not know what is happening or how much is cut. A definition of household use will give us at least some measure of that and something we can do. Particularly in the European context, when the whole picture on the Common Agricultural Policy is changing, when our Commissioner is arguing around environmental stewardship payments, when there is a whole push around carbon sequestration, we simply will not be able to say what we are sequestering because we will not know what is happening because we have set no limit.

We made that point in relation to hedgerows when that Bill went through and we have seen the consequence. The Heritage Act removed the requirement for reporting or clarity on what was cut, in terms of hedgerows. A de-designation without any guidance on turbary rights removes clarity and information as to what might happen. It is a simple thing and it is about respecting social and cultural practice while also respecting the natural environment.

It is important to indicate that for the sites that are staying as NHAs or for new NHAs, we would not envisage any turf cutting, including for household use. That would not impact on the site. The non-designated sites are outside our remit. We could bring that up with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. The amendments relate to a definition of "household use" but the purpose of what we are enacting is to continue the process of engagement with the stakeholders to address the needs of turf cutters through the various processes such as relocation, de-designation and through the long-term payments that have been made for a long period. That is how we are accommodating and preserving the bogs that we intend to preserve and allowing for the de-designation of those that are beyond restoration or use.

In relation to sequestration, those are discussions that are going on as part of the new round of the Common Agricultural Policy and we must wait to see what happens in that regard. I believe there will be a greater emphasis on carbon as part of that. I do not know whether it will be in relation to payments for bogs, increased planting areas or increased levels of biodiversity within permanent pastures. The discussions are ongoing. I do not believe there is a need for the amendment as outlined by the Senator.

Is the amendment being pressed?

I will make a final comment. The Minister of State referred to the needs of turf cutters, which are clearly at the centre of much of the consultation. They are the stakeholders who have been centre stage in this process. However, if we are talking about the needs of turf cutters then it is not too much to also ask about the responsibilities and accountability of turf cutters. That is what my amendment would do. It would be a little clearer on the position because where rights are invoked, there are also responsibilities. Where needs are being addressed, there is also a level of accountability that needs to be addressed in respect of that, because there are wider needs in the community and in society and we balance those with each other. One point I hear all the time from the Government side of the House is in respect of balancing. It is a very simple thing to say if, as the Minister of State says, we are working with those groups and if the needs of turf cutters are central to this process, that we would also balance that with some level of accountability and clarity. I will not press the amendment at this stage as I hope the Minister of State will engage with us and have some exchange between, for example, other Departments on it.

I may amend the wording and resubmit the amendment so that the reference is to a joint report or an engagement specifically between the Department and another Department. I am happy to speak to the Minister of State about how that would be done but it would send a terrible signal if we say we are not willing to even think about what household use means. Perhaps there is some information the Minister of State can direct to me and others in the House who are concerned about the issue. We would appreciate some guidance on what we would expect household use to be in respect of turbary rights. Is there some precedent or previous reports? Perhaps there is information that I have not seen and that I am not aware of in regard to it. I would be concerned if it is a purely interpretative phase of household use. Currently, road safety is purely interpretative by individuals with no clear guidance as to what that might mean and we have seen the consequences on the byways of Ireland. Similarly, a purely interpretative version of household use is not good enough any more. I will not press the amendment at this stage but I will reintroduce the amendment and I will press it on Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 23:

In page 6, between lines 9 and 10, to insert the following:

“Report on intergenerational justice and equity issues

5. The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht shall, within twelve months of the passing of this Act, lay a report before both Houses of the Oireachtas considering intergenerational justice and equity issues in respect of bog lands; to include a consideration of turf cutting, peat extraction, climate change and other environmental considerations.”.

Amendment No. 23 is the core amendment.

It has already been discussed so Senator Higgins cannot discuss it.

It relates to the intergenerational justice and equality issues. I will withdraw the amendment and reintroduce it, because if we have seen anything since we last debated the issue, it is that intergenerational justice issues are clearer than ever and the demand for action is clearer than ever. I do not believe the Government can say to the school strikers and others it has had before committees that they do not want to do a report on intergenerational justice.

I thank the Senator.

I am just asking if the Minister of State is willing to accept it.

Senator Higgins cannot debate the issue. Otherwise, I am breaking the rules.

Is the Senator withdrawing the amendment?

I want to ask the Minister of State if he will accept it. Otherwise, I will withdraw it.

Senator Higgins should bear with me for a moment. Sometimes, she wants to have two bites of the cherry. If she proposes to withdraw the amendment and to resubmit it on Report Stage, it is wrong to have a full debate now and at the end of that to withdraw the amendment and resubmit it. The Senator is having both bites. If her plan is to resubmit the amendment I respectfully suggest that she would do so now.

Am I correct in saying that the amendment was already debated at an earlier stage?

Yes, it was already debated.

That is why I am not debating it now. I just wanted to check if the position of the Minister of State had changed. That is the only reason I asked.

The amendment is linked to amendment No. 22. That is a matter that can come up on Report Stage.

In that context, I will reserve the right to reintroduce the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 24 not moved.
Question, “That section 5 stand part of the Bill”, put and declared carried.
TITLE

I move amendment No. 25:

In page 3, line 5, after “review of” to insert “raised”.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.

When is it proposed to take Report Stage?

On Tuesday, 21 May 2019.

Question put: "That Report Stage be taken on Tuesday, 21 May 2019."
The Seanad divided: Tá, 14; Níl, 4.

  • Burke, Colm.
  • Burke, Paddy.
  • Buttimer, Jerry.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Daly, Paul.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Hopkins, Maura.
  • Lawlor, Anthony.
  • Lombard, Tim.
  • Marshall, Ian.
  • Mulherin, Michelle.
  • Ó Céidigh, Pádraig.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Mahony, John.

Níl

  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Gavan, Paul.
  • Higgins, Alice-Mary.
  • Warfield, Fintan.
Tellers: Tá, Senators John O'Mahony and Maura Hopkins; Níl, Senators Alice-Mary Higgins and Fintan Warfield.
Question declared carried.

When is it proposed to sit again?

Maidin amárach ar 10.30.

The Seanad adjourned at 7.25 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 16 May 2019.