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Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Continued)

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 980 No. 4

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SECTION 8

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Amendments Nos. 32 to 35, inclusive, are related and will be discussed together.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I move amendment No. 32:

In page 18, line 34, after "which" to insert "Chapter 1 of".

I will set out the background to this. The EU fluorinated greenhouse gas regulation No. 517/2014 requires people and companies working on fluorinated greenhouse gases, F gases, equipment to be certified. The type of equipment involved includes electrical switch machinery, fire suppression, solvents, refrigeration, air conditioning, heat pumps and motor vehicles. People and companies working on this in a range of areas are required to be certified. Traditionally, both individuals and companies have been certified in the UK by the competent authorities' certification bodies in the UK. The reason we are introducing this amendment is that we were advised by the Attorney General that it would be optimal to have primary legislation to provide for the form of recognition for these UK certified individuals and companies rather than leave it to secondary legislation.

  Amendment No. 32 inserts the new Chapter 1 into the Bill. Amendment No. 33 provides the various definitions.

  Amendment No. 34 provides that an individual who immediately before the relevant date holds a valid certificate issued by a certification body in the United Kingdom under Article 5 of the Commission regulation of April 2008 in respect of an activity referred to in Article 1, which are the activities I mentioned earlier relating to refrigeration, air conditioning, heat pumps, motor vehicles, electrical switching and so forth, will be deemed to hold an equivalent certificate which is to be recognised in Ireland under that relevant section. Subsection (2) of that section provides that persons or companies will be given six months during which they can continue to operate with the UK certificate as recognised, but during that six months they will be required within the first four months to apply to the relevant agency, or the Minister in the case of a company, to get Irish certification. During the six-month period they must apply within four months and the agency, which in this case will be the EPA, will issue a certificate to them validating and providing an Irish certificate within six months.

  It is more restricted in the case of a company. This is in the area of refrigeration and fire suppressants. In their case the same rules will apply about the equivalency of a certificate from the UK. The companies will also have six months during which they can continue to operate, and during that period they will have four months within which to apply. They apply to the Minister for certification. They will also be required, as is the case under the present arrangement, to seek annual renewal from the Minister each year. That is the current recognised approach. The reason the Minister is the person to whom the application is made is that currently this type of vetting of certification is assigned to a private entity. It is up to the Minister to work out the contractual arrangements with that private entity, which will carry out the necessary vetting of applicants.

  This is a legislative measure to get over a gap in mutual recognition. Currently, there is mutual recognition of certificates within the EU so a UK certificate is valid throughout the EU. However, if the UK crashes out of the EU and the certificates cease to be recognised under mutual recognition, we must put this provision in place to ensure that people working in these important areas have the necessary certification and that the public have that assurance with regard to those who will be doing that type of work.

  I commend the amendments to the House.

  Amendment agreed to.

  Section 8, as amended, agreed to.

NEW SECTIONS

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I move amendment No. 33:

In page 18, after line 38, to insert the following:
“CHAPTER 1

Qualification to carry out activity relating to fluorinated greenhouse gases
Interpretation

9. In this Chapter—

“Agency” means the Environmental Protection Agency;

“equivalent certificate” means an equivalent certificate referred to in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d) of section 10(1) or paragraph (a) or (b) of section 11(1);

“equivalent training attestation” means an equivalent attestation referred to in paragraph (e) of section 10(1);

“Minister” means the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment;

“relevant date” means the date of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from membership of the European Union.”.

  Amendment agreed to.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I move amendment No. 34:

In page 18, after line 38, to insert the following:
“Equivalent certification, equivalent training attestation relating to individuals
9. (1) (a) An individual who, immediately before the relevant date holds a valid certificate issued by a certification body in the United Kingdom under Article 5 of Commission Regulation (EC) No 304/2008 of 2 April 20081 in respect of an activity referred to in Article 2(1) of that Commission Regulation is deemed, for the purpose of carrying out that activity, to hold an equivalent certificate.
(b) An individual who, immediately before the relevant date holds a valid certificate issued by a certification body in the United Kingdom under Article 3 of Commission Regulation (EC) No 306/2008 of 2 April 20082 in respect of an activity referred to in Article 1 of that Commission Regulation is deemed, for the purpose of carrying out that activity, to hold an equivalent certificate.

(c) An individual who, immediately before the relevant date holds a valid certificate issued by a certification body in the United Kingdom under Article 3 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2066 of 17 November 20153 in respect of an activity referred to in Article 1 of that Commission Regulation is deemed, for the purpose of carrying out that activity, to hold an equivalent certificate.

(d) An individual who, immediately before the relevant date holds a valid certificate issued by a certification body in the United Kingdom under Article 4 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2067 of 17 November 2015 in respect of an activity referred to in Article 2(1) of that Commission Regulation is deemed, for the purpose of carrying out that activity, to hold an equivalent certificate.

(e) An individual who, immediately before the relevant date holds a valid training attestation issued by an attestation body in the United Kingdom under Article 3 of Commission Regulation (EC) No 307/2008 of 2 April 2008 in respect of an activity referred to in Article 1 of that Commission Regulation is deemed, for the purpose of carrying out that activity, to hold an equivalent training attestation.
(2) An individual who holds an equivalent certificate or equivalent training attestation may carry out the activity to which the equivalent certificate or equivalent training attestation relates until the date that is 6 months from the relevant date or the date on which a certificate or training attestation is issued by the Agency under subsection (3), whichever is earlier.

(3) An individual who holds an equivalent certificate or equivalent training attestation shall apply to the Agency not later than 4 months after the relevant date for the issue by it of a certificate or training attestation in respect of the activity to which the equivalent certificate or training attestation relates and such certificate or training attestation shall, subject to subsection (4), be issued by the Agency not later than 6 months after the relevant date.

(4) The Agency shall issue a certificate or training attestation where an application is made in accordance with the procedures established by the Agency in that behalf.”.

  Amendment agreed to.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I move amendment No. 35:

In page 18, after line 38, to insert the following:
“Equivalent certification relating to companies
9. (1) (a) A company which, immediately before the relevant date holds a valid certificate issued by a certification body in the United Kingdom under Article 8 of Commission Regulation (EC) No 304/2008 of 2 April 2008 in respect of an activity referred to in Article 2(2) of that Commission Regulation is deemed, for the purpose of carrying out that activity, to hold an equivalent certificate.
(b) A company which, immediately before the relevant date holds a valid certificate issued by a certification body in the United Kingdom under Article 6 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2067 of 17 November 2015 in respect of an activity referred to in Article 2(2) of that Commission Regulation is deemed, for the purpose of carrying out that activity, to hold an equivalent certificate.
(2) A company which holds an equivalent certificate may carry out the activity to which the equivalent certificate relates until the date that is 6 months from the relevant date or the date on which a certificate is issued by the Minister under subsection (3), whichever is earlier.

(3) A company which holds an equivalent certificate shall apply to the Minister not later than 4 months after the relevant date for the issue by the Minister of a certificate in respect of the activity to which the equivalent certificate relates and such certificate shall, subject to subsection (4), be issued by the Minister not later than 6 months after the relevant date.

(4) The Minister shall issue a certificate where an application is made in accordance with the procedures established by the Minister in that behalf.

(5) A certificate issued by the Minister under this section shall be valid until the end of the calendar year in which it is issued.”.

  Amendment agreed to.

Deputy Brian Stanley: Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley I move amendment No. 36:

In page 18, after line 38, to insert the following:
“Amendment of Schedule 1A of Electricity Regulation Act 1999

9. Schedule 1A to the Electricity Regulation Act 1999 is amended by the insertion of the following new paragraph after paragraph 17:
“18. The SEM Committee will be cognisant of ensuring regulatory alignment to protect the single electricity market and will report to the Minister on actions taken with relevant bodies in other jurisdictions and aim to maintain the single electricity market.”.”.

The amendment is straightforward and inserts a new paragraph regarding the single electricity market, SEM, committee. We consider this very important. It is the only area in the Bill that is truly all-Ireland. We have discussed many times the benefits of the all-Ireland economy and particularly the single electricity market which was established under the Electricity Regulation Act 1999. In a post-Brexit situation it is important that the single electricity market is maintained if the benefits are to continue for householders and businesses North and South and, indeed, for the environment.

  The amendment seeks to amend the Electricity Regulation Act 1999. The SEM committee was established under this Act. It is an all-Ireland body, with representatives from the regulator in Belfast, appointed by the regulator in Belfast, and representatives from the regulator in Dublin, which oversees the functioning of the all-Ireland electricity market that has been in place for over a decade. Nobody would argue that it has not been a success story. It has been of great benefit for both the North and the South, but particularly for the North in terms of the supply of electricity.


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