Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Questions on Promised Legislation (Continued)
 Header Item Business of Dáil
 Header Item National Food Ombudsman Bill 2017: First Stage
 Header Item Sale of Tickets (Sporting and Cultural Events) Bill 2017: First Stage

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 941 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 94 Next Page Last Page

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry] As of 15 minutes ago, the office of the Minister, the HSE or the Department of Health had not made contact with Vertex since 3 February 2017.

The Taoiseach was correct yesterday when he said the Minister had arranged a meeting with the people associated with the cystic fibrosis campaign on Monday. The essence of that meeting was that the Minister asked them to cancel today's protest. As we speak, those people are assembling outside of the building. The clear message is that they are not going to go away.

Despite waffle about protracted and detailed contractual negotiations, Vertex confirmed to me that the last contact it had was on 3 February. We are dealing with children's health and, in effect, their lives. The Taoiseach and the Minister, Deputy Harris, are both gentlemen outside the ring. It is time they manned up, told people the truth and had the decency to tell them what is going on.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I wonder what Deputy MacSharry would say to Vertex. If he has all the answers perhaps he could provide it with a solution to this problem. I will ask the Minister, Deputy Harris, to deal with the Deputy's specific query.

Deputy Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry With respect to the Taoiseach, in his wisdom he did not make me Minister for Health. If he had, we would not be waiting around for six months to get answers.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Deputy MacSharry, resume your seat.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Perhaps Deputy MacSharry is jealous of his leader making some headway because he had accurate information during Leaders' Questions today. I will ask the Minister, Deputy Harris, to deal with Deputy MacSharry's specific query.

Deputy Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry No contact has been made since February.

Deputy Simon Harris: Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I recognise Deputy MacSharry's genuine interest in this matter, but I would recommend that it is best that Deputies in his company are not passing on messages from Vertex. His interests are the same as mine in making the drug available.

Deputy Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry The Minister does not seem to be talking to the company. Some of us have to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Order please.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin It is the same information as that we received in response to a parliamentary question.

Deputy Simon Harris: Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The full and final offer that Vertex put on the table a number of months ago is now a hell of a lot better as a result of the efforts undertaken by the HSE and the people who have the legal power to negotiate. I am going to do something that the House has never done before, namely, make sure that whoever is the Minister for Health in the future does not find himself or herself sitting around another table to negotiate prices for the next cystic fibrosis drug. We need to future proof cystic fibrosis drugs for the next generation. It will take a few more weeks. We will get things done in the next few weeks and are in the final stages of commercial and contractual arrangements.

Deputy Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry Will it be one week, two weeks or 52 weeks?

Business of Dáil

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the following arrangements shall apply in relation to the sitting today. The suspension of the sitting after the Topical Issue debate under Standing Order 25(1) shall be for 30 minutes only. A further suspension of the sitting will take place after Private Members’ business for ten minutes, following which statements on Traveller ethnicity will be taken, to be brought to a conclusion, if not previously concluded, after 95 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply: the speeches of a Minister or Minister of State and the main spokespersons for parties and groups shall not exceed ten minutes. Following these speeches, the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality may make a speech which will not exceed ten minutes, and all Members may share time. A Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which will not exceed five minutes.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger I welcome the proposal, but I suggest that rather than having Travellers' groups ringing our offices yesterday to ask us whether statements would take place and not knowing whether that would be the case, it would be better to announce these things in advance and make provision for the groups for which it means so much to come into the Dáil and be present in the Gallery rather than having to-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I understand over 200 people will be here. Some will be in the Gallery and ancillary space has had to be found to accommodate all those who wish to come to the House.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger People rang our offices to ask-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl They rang many people's offices.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I ask that a copy of the revised schedule be circulated.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is the proposed change to the Order of Business agreed? Agreed.

National Food Ombudsman Bill 2017: First Stage

Deputy Charlie McConalogue: Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to establish an office of National Food Ombudsman as part of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission; to enable the holder of that office to mediate and investigate disputes between, on the one hand, relevant grocery goods undertakings engaged in the retail or wholesale of grocery goods in the State and, on the other hand, suppliers of those goods; and to provide for related matters.

I am delighted to introduce the National Food Ombudsman Bill 2017, thereby fulfilling a Fianna Fáil pledge in our manifesto for the 2016 general election. A fair return for primary producers is a central plank of the agricultural policy of Fianna Fáil and is vital to the long-term survival and success of the horticulture, beef, sheep, liquid milk, peak, tillage and poultry sectors. The Bill proposes to amend consumer law to provide for a food ombudsman and the protection of primary producers in national law. It also signals how my party is putting forward measures to safeguard the position of farmers in the food chain, in particular as we approach a hard Brexit.

  Fianna Fáil is committed to protecting and developing agriculture for the 140,000 farming families in Ireland as the main driver of the rural economy and custodians of the Irish countryside. The agrifood sector is not only Ireland's most important indigenous industry, it also lies at the heart of social and economic life throughout much of our country. Clear imbalances are undermining its long-term sustainability. Especially important is the manner in which family farms are finding it increasingly difficult to receive fair prices for their produce. Action is now required to ensure that producers can earn a decent living as part of a dynamic and innovative sector. The future of the family farm unit and long-term food security is reliant on producing goods at a profit. Farmers are currently struggling to make a sustainable income in the face of ongoing price erosion by large multiple retailers.

  The proposals in the Bill will give a legislative basis for the first time for an office of national food ombudsman. The Bill would establish an office of national food ombudsman as part of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, CCPC, to enable the holder of that office to mediate and investigate disputes between relevant grocery goods undertakings engaged in the retail or wholesale of grocery goods in the State and suppliers of those goods, and provide for related matters. This will ensure that suppliers that may be subject to any unfair trading practices by retailers or wholesalers would have direct recourse to an independent food ombudsman within the CCPC.

  The office holder would retain the power of the CCPC, which would include investigating and resolving disputes relating to the grocery goods and undertaking regulations. Where the regulations are found to be breached, the ombudsman will be empowered to commence investigations which could result in fines and penalties. The National Food Ombudsman Bill 2017 will safeguard a fairer future for farmers, ensuring that primary producers' position is strengthened in the food chain with direct recourse to an independent ombudsman. Fianna Fáil will continue to fight to support our rural communities which are being left behind. I look forward to introducing the Bill in Private Members' time and encourage Deputies across the floor of the House to support this farmer focused Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is this Bill opposed?

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty No.

    Question put and agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

Deputy Charlie McConalogue: Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

    Question put and agreed to.

Sale of Tickets (Sporting and Cultural Events) Bill 2017: First Stage

Deputy Maurice Quinlivan: Information on Maurice Quinlivan Zoom on Maurice Quinlivan I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to regulate the selling of tickets for certain sporting and cultural events; and to provide for related matters.

The aim of the Bill is to tackle ticket touting while at the same time protecting ordinary customers and charities. I am introducing the Bill because many people have been enraged by their inability to access tickets for events while seeing the same tickets on sale, often at the same prices or, in many cases, at prices that are multiples of the original ticket price.

  The main concern I have in drafting the Bill is to ensure that those who buy tickets with the intention of attending events but who later find themselves unable to attend are protected, while at the same time ensuring that those who purchase tickets for events which they have no intention of attending but who want to resell tickets, often to generate significant profits - basically, ticket touts - are disincentivised and face substantial fines for so doing. Ticket touting and the secondary sale of tickets for events such as music concerts, sporting or cultural events has been a source of major concern and anger for many people.

  People are perplexed as to why tickets for events with are supposedly sold out are for sale, in some cases by companies owned by the primary seller, for multiples of the initial cost. Clearly, people are very angry about this. There have been a number of attempts to regulate the resale of tickets over the years, but the problem has not been tackled and continues unabated. If enacted, the Bill will have the potential to make the resale of tickets unprofitable, which would, therefore, have a major impact on the problem and make most ticket touting pointless.

  The Bill will deal with designated events where 300 or more tickets would be sold and how they would be regulated.


Last Updated: 29/06/2018 13:25:46 First Page Previous Page Page of 94 Next Page Last Page