Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Select Committee on Enterprise and Economic Strategy díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 10 Jul 1996


Question proposed: "That section 15 stand part of the Bill."

Section 15 states:

The Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, may make grants towards the expenses of a local authority incurred under this Act.

While the Bill is enthusiastically received council officials and councillors have expressed concern on the financial implications for local authorities. We will need reassurance from the Minister that worthwhile finance will be provided in meeting costs differentials. Perhaps the Minister of State will assure councillors throughout the country that the word "may" shall become "will" and that the Minister will provide finance to the local authorities in implementing this legislation.

There is a financial commitment by the Government in the explanatory memorandum. It recognises that the Bill has financial implications. It is one of the reasons for the control areas and it will involve relatively significant financial implications. If areas have major problems in terms of wandering horses, resources can be concentrated in them to get rid of the problems before moving on to other areas which do not have problems at present but may have them in the future.

The Government has given a financial commitment in the explanatory memorandum. When it approved the Bill, it realised the legislation had financial implications. If the Bill is in place by the autumn, hopefully provision will be made in the Estimates for its implementation. I hope that will be the case. I agree with Deputies that this Bill will not work unless an overall financial commitment is given to it.

I accept the Minister's reassurance. I raised the matter because local authorities tend to be sceptical about much of the legislation introduced. I mentioned the example of the Abattoirs Act earlier. Many changes have taken place at EU level, particularly regarding the environment in terms of sludge disposal and other issues. It usually comes down to local authorities trying to finance changes as well as providing other services. I welcome the Minister's reassurance. It is extremely important that a financial input is in place on a national basis to ensure the Bill succeeds. Otherwise, it could fall between two stools.

If such a commitment exists, why does the section not state that the Minister "shall" make grants, as suggested by Deputy Finucane? Why was the section not worded in such a fashion? If there is a commitment, why is it not written in the Bill?

I understand section 15 is a standard legislative provision and that is how it is written.

It is unfortunate because it may create a supposition that it may or may not happen.

That is the way it is written in Bills. As I said earlier, I hope I will be proven right. Otherwise, it will be difficult for the Bill to succeed. The Government gave a financial commitment when it approved the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 16 agreed to.
Amendment No. 14 not moved.
Section 17 agreed to.