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Sustainable Energy Bill, 2001 [ Seanad ] : Order for Report Stage.

Wednesday, 6 February 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 547 No. 4

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Minister of State at the Department of Public Enterprise (Mr. Jacob): Information on Joe Jacob Zoom on Joe Jacob I move:

That Report Stage be taken now.

Acting Chairman (Mr. Briscoe): Information on Ben Briscoe Zoom on Ben Briscoe Is that agreed?

Mr. Stanton: Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton Despite a long and intensive debate on Committee Stage we were presented yesterday with a raft of amendments we had not seen before. Some of them are technical. This has happened with previous legislation.

Given that the Bill was passed by the Seanad on 23 May 2001, I fail to understand why, at the 11th hour, the Minister of State has introduced technical amendments. Why could they not have been introduced on Committee Stage or shortly afterwards?

The Minister of State is aware that we have taken the Bill seriously and have tried to be as constructive as possible. We have devoted much time to it and it is unfair to treat the House in this way. The Minister of State should have introduced these amendment earlier to give us the opportunity to research them and hold a proper debate.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent Zoom on Trevor Sargent The amendments introduced by the Minister of State stretch the credibility of the Short Title of the Bill. What is the motivation behind these amendments? Do they stand up scientifically or are they simply political?

Acting Chairman: I will permit the Minister of State to make a brief statement.

Mr. Jacob: Information on Joe Jacob Zoom on Joe Jacob I understand the comments of colleagues on the other side of the House. The House passed a motion earlier permitting the reversion to Committee Stage, where necessary, without debate. A number of very important matters set out in the amendments were not included in the Bill as published. If I was on the same side of the House as Deputy Stanton and Deputy Sargent I would ask the same questions. There are cogent reasons for including these important urgent technical measures in the Bill, which was deemed to be the most appropriate vehicle for their implementation. They are not politically motivated.

The POS order needs to be made as soon as possible to facilitate the rapidly narrowing timeframe for the construction by the ESB of the two new peat fired stations at Shannonbridge, County Offaly, and Lanesborough, County Longford, and the orderly closure of existing peat stations. All in the House would aspire to that.

[1421]The amendments are also urgently required to pave the way for the issue of contracts to the successful bidders in the most recent alternative energy requirement competition, AER V. Deputies will be aware that the announcement on AER V was made by me on Monday and I am anxious to see the early development of all the successful projects. I am sure colleagues in the House will join me in that resolve. In that context, it is appropriate that the Bill should be the vehicle for the necessary amendments, especially given the time constraints. These provisions will be consolidated in the forthcoming electricity Bill, which will shortly be sent to the Parliamentary Counsel for drafting. It is due to be introduced in 2003.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent Zoom on Trevor Sargent The Minister of State did not give the reasons for introducing these amendments.

Mr. Jacob: Information on Joe Jacob Zoom on Joe Jacob I did.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent Zoom on Trevor Sargent I do not agree with them.

Mr. Jacob: Information on Joe Jacob Zoom on Joe Jacob That is the Deputy's prerogative.

Question put and agreed to.

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