Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Select Committee on Finance and General Affairs díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 1 Dec 1993


I move amendment No. 29:

In page 18, between lines 32 and 33, to insert the following:

"19. —Pending the next Elections to the Councils of the counties, the following arrangements shall apply in relation to Vocational Education Committees:".

The Bill proposes that the two existing vocational education committees, the County Dublin Vocational Education Committee and the Borough of Dún Laoghaire Vocational Education Committee, will remain in existence after this legislation is passed and that their writ will run in their traditional areas, that is over the areas for which Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire Borough Corporation were responsible. I propose that this arrangement should apply only until the next local elections and that three vocational education committees should then be established to correspond to the three county councils. Otherwise the position will be anomalous and these three county councils will be the only county councils in the country which will not have the right to appoint a vocational education committee. Such committees will exist, based on the old areas.

I am aware consideration is being given to what will emerge from the White Paper on education. We do not yet know whether, as a result of the proposed education Bill, vocational education committees will still exist or be replaced by some other type of local education body. We cannot presume the White Paper or an education Bill will contain provisions in relation to this, we cannot presume what they will contain. We do not know if an education Bill will be enacted by the time of the next local elections.

It is prudent to make provision in this legislation for the existing educational legislation, that is the 1930 vocational education committee Act. It makes sense, and was recommended to the Minister by the deputations he received, that the arrangements he proposes should apply until the next local elections. The Bill should provide for the appointment of three separate vocational education committees after these elections.

My amendment No. 31 is along the same lines. It is the same principle.

It is out of order.

Nobody told me that, but I may speak to Deputy Gilmore's amendment as it is based on the same principle. Why was my amendment disallowed?

It is a charge on Revenue and I wrote to you yesterday about it.

During Second Stage we made the same comments on this issue and it was raised in deputations. We do not know what will happen as a result of the ongoing debate on education or when legislation will be passed. In the legislation we should allow for vocational education authorities to be established for each area. I am sorry my amendment was ruled out of order but I support the points made by Deputy Gilmore.

I hope it will be possible for the Minister to provide vocational education committees in the three areas, if it is not provided for in the new legislation.

I concur with that sentiment. The aim of the Bill is to make the local authority organisation more accessible and relevant to the people by ensuring it works in the area for which it is responsible. In the area of vocational education, a similar argument could be made as members of the vocational education committee travel throughout the country and need to familiarise themselves with areas, conditions and schools. This was also experienced during the operation of the development plan. The same arguments can be made about the operation and identity of the education authority in the local area. It makes one wonder about the logistics of the Bill which is not consistent in this area.

Because amendments Nos. 31 and 32 have been ruled out of order, amendment No. 29 is superfluous. The debate on the proposals and the proposed changes in the Department of Education with regard to vocational education is ongoing and one of two developments must take place. We should either have a general education Act between now and the next local elections, or separate provision for a vocational Act to deal with the three new county councils. We must await the outcome of that debate to see how this development will take place. It is clear that these are the only possible routes which can be taken.

We are not prejudging the situation and not diminishing what is available in the three counties at present. It is well known that the examination of these matters is ongoing. As I said, there are two options for the future, including a general education Act which should be enacted before the next local elections. This would give a clear picture as to what would happen, not only in Dublin but across the country. In the absence of this Act, a vocational Act should be introduced to give the three counties their full responsibilities in conjunction with the councils throughout the country in this area.

I am glad the Minister clarified this because I wanted to know what would happen following the next local elections. There is no provision in this legislation for the appointment of either Dublin County vocational education committee or Dún Laoghaire vocational education committee after the next local elections. I clearly understand the Minister's intention — and he may correct me if I am wrong — that we will either have a general education Act to deal with local education bodies, or legislation will be introduced to establish three vocational education committees for these three counties. This is what I am seeking to achieve.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 30 not moved.
Amendment No. 31 not moved.
Section 19 agreed to.