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 Header Item Single Resolution Fund: Motion (Continued)
 Header Item Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2015: Order for Report Stage
 Header Item Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2015: Report and Final Stages
 Header Item Horse Racing Ireland Bill 2015: Order for Second Stage
 Header Item Horse Racing Ireland Bill 2015: Second Stage

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 895 No. 3

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  7 o’clock

Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2015: Order for Report Stage

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I move: "That Report Stage be taken now."

  Question put and agreed to.

Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2015: Report and Final Stages

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Recommittal is necessary in respect of the amendments in the name of the Minister.

  Bill recommitted in respect of amendment No. 1.

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I move amendment No. 1:

In page 5, to delete lines 19 to 23 and substitute the following:
"(3) Subject to subsections (4) and (5), this Act shall come into operation on the date of its passing.

(4) Part 3 shall come into operation on 20 November 2015.

(5) Part 4 shall come into operation on such day or days as the Minister may appoint by order or orders either generally or with reference to any particular purpose or provision and different days may be so appointed for different purposes or different provisions.".

This technical amendment varies the commencement dates as appropriate across different Parts of the Bill. I felt it necessary to move the commencement of Part 2 of the Bill, which deals with the intergovernmental agreement, to the date of signature, as this agreement is crucial to the Single Resolution Mechanism and must be ratified by the end of the month. Consequently, I did not want any unnecessary delays in the making of commencement orders. As Part 5 of the Bill involves a technical amendment to remove an ambiguity in the legislation, I believe it should take effect immediately when this legislation is signed into law. That is the basis of this technical amendment.

  Amendment agreed to.

  Bill reported with amendment.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Amendment No. 2 is out of order.

  Amendment No. 2 not moved.

  Bill recommitted in respect of amendment No. 3.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I move amendment No. 3:

In page 17, to delete lines 8 to 11 and substitute the following:
“(2) A regulatory act taken by the Bank under the relevant regulations in respect of a Solvency II undertaking on or before the commencement of this section continues to have effect according to its terms.

(3) The Bank may enforce a regulatory act referred to in subsection (1) or (2).

(4) The repeal of the repealed instruments does not preclude the taking of any legal proceedings, or the undertaking of any investigation, or disciplinary or enforcement action by the Bank or any other person, in respect of any contravention by a Solvency II undertaking of a provision of the relevant regulations or any misconduct which may have been committed by a Solvency II undertaking before the repeal of the repealed instruments.

(5) In this section—
"regulatory act" includes any direction, order, requirement, sanction, condition, appointment or request (however described) of a regulatory nature made, given or imposed by the Bank;

"Solvency II undertaking" means an undertaking to which Titles I, II and III of the [No. 89a of 2015] [10 November, 2015] Solvency II Directive applies.".

This amendment ensures that actions taken by the Central Bank in respect of undertakings which will fall within the scope of the Solvency II directive but are currently within the scope of the Solvency I directive shall continue in force. The Central Bank can take actions against such undertakings for non-compliance with the Solvency I regime.

  Amendment agreed to.

  Bill reported with amendment.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Amendment No. 4 is out of order.

  Amendment No. 4 not moved.

  Bill, as amended, received for final consideration.

  Question, "That the Bill do now pass," put and declared carried.

Horse Racing Ireland Bill 2015: Order for Second Stage

Bill entitled an Act to amend and extend the Irish Horseracing Industry Act 1994, the Greyhound Industry Act 1958, section 10 of the Animal Remedies Act 1993, section 2 of the Forestry Act 2014 and the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act 2001, to repeal the Horse Racing Ireland (Membership) Act 2001 and section 2 of the Horse and Greyhound Racing (Betting Charges and Levies) Act 1999, and to provide for related matters.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I move: "That Second Stage be taken now."

  Question put and agreed to.

Horse Racing Ireland Bill 2015: Second Stage

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

I am pleased to introduce the Horse Racing Ireland Bill 2015 to the House. The Irish bloodstock breeding and racing industry is of major national importance in terms of employment, especially in rural areas, and in terms of exports and tourism. It is estimated that the industry employs approximately 18,000 people when breeding, racing, betting and other elements of the industry are included. It contributed almost €1.1 billion to the Irish economy in 2012 and achieved exports of over €205 million to 37 countries in 2013. It is estimated to attract up to 80,000 tourists to Ireland each year. Those tourists are among the more than 1 million people who attend horse races each year in this country. The Irish thoroughbred sector has built a global reputation for excellence. In sporting terms, Ireland can consider itself to be among the best in the world.

Horse Racing Ireland, HRI, is a commercial State body that was established under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act 2001. It is charged with the overall administration, promotion and development of this very important industry. These activities are funded to a significant extent by the Exchequer funding of the horse and greyhound fund, which comes within the ambit of my Department's Vote. After a period of necessary retrenchment over the past several years, I have started a significant restoration of the Exchequer provision for HRI - to €54.4 million in 2015 and €59.2 million in 2016 - to assist with the development of the sector. HRI also provides funding for integrity services to the racing regulatory body. The Turf Club, which includes the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee and is a private body, is designated as the racing regulatory body and is charged with carrying out these functions under the current legislation. HRI provided €7.1 million for these activities in 2015. The independent role of the racing regulatory authority is protected in the Bill I am introducing today.

Before I deal with the substance of the Bill, I want to refer to a report, Review of Certain Aspects of the Irish Horse Racing Industry, which I commissioned and which was published by Indecon International Economic Consultants in July 2012. The Department facilitated a stakeholder consultation process as part of that review. Written submissions were sought from interested parties and forwarded to Indecon for consideration. The resulting report examined the legislation, governance structures, funding and management of the industry, including the streamlining of functions assigned by legislation to HRI and the racing regulatory body. It made a number of recommendations in this regard. Following the Indecon report, HRI and the racing regulatory body established a streamlining task force with a view to achieving efficiencies, and a consultancy firm, Smith and Williamson, was appointed to act as a facilitator in these discussions. The consultants estimate that the 18 recommendations contained in its report could result in savings of €1.8 million.

My Department drafted the general scheme of the Horse Racing Ireland Bill 2015 taking account of this general background and the recommendations of the Indecon and Smith and Williamson reports. The general scheme was subject to thorough pre-legislative scrutiny by the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine in 2014. I believe the joint committee heard from all the major players in the industry and departmental officials appeared before it on two occasions. The comprehensive report produced by the committee was useful in finalising the Bill and we changed the Bill accordingly. On foot of the pre-legislative scrutiny report, I have increased the proposed membership of the board and reserved a seat for a representative of the stable staff.


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