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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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  9 o’clock

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton] It is not based unilaterally on legislation provided by the Oireachtas and, therefore, we cannot unilaterally introduce changes to the legislation that underpins this, which is what the Deputy seeks to do. He wants the Oireachtas to bind the operation of the committee, which has parent legislation both North and South, but that is not in accord with legislation. I think he knows and recognises that we cannot start legislating in the House for the operation of another jurisdiction and it would be very incorrect for us to seek to do so.

In the second instance, it is important to emphasise the independence of regulators both North and South who participate in the committee. They are not answerable to the Minister and, as required under EU legislation, they cannot be answerable to a Minister, which we are very conscious of. EU Directive 2009/72/EC stipulates that member states must guarantee the independence of their national regulatory authorities, which is what we are doing in the Bill. The provision in the Deputy's amendment, where he seeks to make the single electricity market report to the Minister, is inappropriate and not in accordance with European law. I reiterate that, as members of the Oireachtas joint committee, Deputy Stanley and other Deputies have the power, correctly exercised, to summon the regulator to assure the committee of the continuing operation of the market.

We are confident that the regulation of the single electricity market, as overseen by the single electricity market committee, is appropriately structured, has the necessary powers and does not need additional powers. It can oversee the operation of the market and is determined to do so. It operates as a single market with a single transmission system and, therefore, it is not a question of cross-Border trading. It is treated as a single market and is one of the few areas where we have a fully integrated market, operating jointly with joint oversight by regulators North and South. If the Deputy presses an amendment that is neither legally robust nor adds any protection, it will be inappropriate.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Is the amendment being pressed?

Deputy Brian Stanley: Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley Yes.

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