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Stanton, David

Wednesday, 6 February 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 547 Nbr. 4

State Authorities (Public Private Partnership Arrangements) Bill, 2001: Report and Final Stages.

I support the amendment. In my constituency at Fermoy there is a welcome proposal to bypass the town. However, there is also a proposal to establish a toll plaza at Rathcormack. This is causing man...More Button

Members often talk about the democratic process. The citizens, who are sovereign after all, are concerned that bureaucracy is getting further and further away. Many Members on all sides have voiced...More Button

State agencies should be accountable, at least for information purposes, to Members of this House and to the citizens. That is not happening and it is causing annoyance and anger. Members on all si...More Button

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

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 legi...More Button

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 intr...More Button

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 wa...More Button

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

It is unfair to present us with these amendments at the eleventh hour. It raises questions as to why this is done. People will ask whether the Minister of State is trying to get something through q...More Button

I recognise the importance of these amendments and the importance of a PSO but I see a contradiction in having them inserted in the Sustainable Energy Bill. However, there is a debate as to whether...More Button

It is happening much faster than that. I have been there and I have seen them. Will the Minister of State tell the House what acreage of peat remains in the country and how long he expects the reso...More Button

This interesting debate is rendered all the more interesting by the production of the amendments at such a late stage. Did the Minister invite every Member of the House to this briefing, or was it ...More Button

There is no doubt that we need energy and there is no doubt that we need to become more self-reliant. We cannot remain dependent on foreign gas, foreign oil and so on. I welcome, as I think we all ...More Button

—and energy conservation, which we raised on Committee Stage and tried to have included in a specific way in the Bill. However, we must also be realistic. Bord na Móna is a fantastic c...More Button

He might tell us about the price structure. I understand there will not be a price increase for the consumer but I would like the Minister of State to make that very clear and to tell us how the re...More Button

To return to the issue of carbon dioxide, greenhouse gas emissions and so on, we need to consider the carbon sink idea. Instead of peat, we could burn timber, which is renewable, in pellet – ...More Button

It would be useful to know that while we do need the energy and employment provided by peat-burning stations in the short-term, in the medium to longer term we could explore the possibility of conv...More Button

The Minister of State has said there will not be a price increase as a result of this mechanism. May I also bring to his attention that, in Sweden and other countries, the technology exists to harv...More Button

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.More Button

Sitting suspended at 1.30 p.m. and resumed at 2.30 p.m.More Button

Other Questions. - Coastal Erosion.

Asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources: if he has received a report dealing with coastal erosion in the Youghal area of County Cork; if so, the actions he plans to take as a result; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Does the Minister agree it is bizarre that three reports have been carried out on this matter? On 24 March 1999 his predecessor told me that a detailed report was carried out by consulting engineer...More Button

The Minister's predecessor stated the work would cost £5.1 million.More Button

A sum of £20,000 has been made available for work which has not taken place and there is some money for consultants. However, no work has occurred on the ground after four years. The Minister...More Button

That is not so.More Button

I raised this matter with the Minister on 10 May. This is not the first time I have done so.More Button

That is not so.More Button

Sustainable Energy Bill, 2001 [ Seanad ] : Report Stage (Resumed).

We were dealing with amendments Nos. 1, 43, 44, 45 and 46 together. I raised the question of the need for the new power stations and asked how long the peat might last. The Minister of State sugges...More Button

I also mentioned the necessity to investigate the possibility of converting peat powered stations to timber powered stations in the not too distant future and we discussed the technology that exist...More Button

I will deal with amendments Nos. 44, 46 and 56 in more detail later. I realise the importance of putting the PSO in place. However, we must also bear in mind the importance of the environment and t...More Button

A conference is due to take place in early March in Austria on sustainable energy and I wonder whether Ireland will be represented at it. It is important that we have representation at conferences ...More Button

I also raised the question of whether or not the consumer will have to pay more for electricity. I do not think that is the case. Perhaps the Minister would clarify that. The Minister alluded to it...More Button

I move amendment No. 3:More Button

In page 3, line 19, after “section 3” to insert “to be the establishment day for the Authority for the purposes of this Act”.More Button

This is a technical amendment that appears in other legislation and which we want to insert for reasons of clarity. It may not be necessary, but we have retabled it in case the Minister for State h...More Button

I wanted to give the Minister of State the opportunity to consider the amendment a second time. He has done so and I accept his explanation.More Button

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

I move amendment No. 4:More Button

In page 3, between lines 20 and 21, to insert the following:More Button

“‘household' means the partner, father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, stepfather, stepmother, son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, grandson, granddaughter, brother, sister, half brother or hal...More Button

We felt on Committee Stage that this area needed to be tightened up. As the word “household” was mentioned in the Bill and not defined, we sought to include a definition. I am pleased to see the Mi...More Button

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

This was debated on Committee Stage when we strongly supported a similar amendment. It is important to have an ideal to work towards. This is one such ideal. I ask the Minister of State to accept t...More Button

Amendment No. 11 provides that an additional function of the Sustainable Energy Authority should be “to promote the concept and development of lean economies, especially in Ireland.” There was a c...More Button

I see nothing but good if the concept of a lean economy is promoted in Ireland. It should be included in the Bill. The lean economy means an economy independent of finite and increasingly scarce im...More Button

The Minister of State in regard to the development of lean economies said other countries would be outside the remit of the Bill. That is an arguable point. However, there is a provision in the Bil...More Button

(i) the exchange of information with organisations outside the State and participation in international activities;More Button

(j) representation of a Minister of the Government at meetings of international bodies where requested to do so by the Minister,More Button

The new authority will be involved in the international arena as it should be. When taking part in such activities, it could promote the development of lean economies. There is not anything wrong w...More Button

I move amendment No. 7:More Button

In page 4, between lines 6 and 7, to insert the following:More Button

“5.–The Authority shall, subject to the provisions of the Act, be independent in the exercise of its functions.”.More Button

This amendment arises from the Committee Stage debate. We were anxious “That the Authority shall, subject to the provisions of the Act, be independent in the exercise of its functions”. This appear...More Button

It would be useful to have this stated explicitly in the legislation. Including it would not have diminished it in any way. I will not press the amendment.More Button

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

I move amendment No. 9:More Button

In page 4, line 11, to delete “and economically”.More Button

We were anxious on Committee Stage to highlight the link between sustainable energy and the economy. We were also concerned that one of the functions of the authority will be to promote economicall...More Button

If something is economically feasible, it will be successful. If not, it will fail. In this context, the big issue is who decides if it is economically successful. Finance Ministers could assume th...More Button

The Minister of State has informed me several times that biofuels such as ethanol derived from sugar beet are not economically viable and are not, therefore, promoted or developed here. Why are the...More Button

Getting back to the amendment and economically sustainable production, it is useful that the Minister of State put on record that the work of the authority would not be bound by economics. In futur...More Button

Are we discussing amendments Nos. 10, 14 and 16 together?More Button

Amendment No. 14 is concerned with preparing and publishing reports “on the relative performance of the State in terms of achieving energy efficiency and sustainable energy measures by comparison w...More Button

Amendment No. 16 proposes to insert the words “the recommendation of fiscal or other measures to Government which would assist in the achievement of the Authority's objectives.” This is another me...More Button

If the Minister of State listens to what he said he will agree he contradicted himself. He stated that the authority would face a problem obtaining the figures, but then stated the EU publishes the...More Button

We are proposing that the authority should take account of what is happening in other countries and compare those measures with what we are doing. The Minister of State knows that many other countr...More Button

The Minister of State said the Minister and the Government should have the right to determine fiscal measures. I agree and we are not suggesting the authority should dictate policy to a Minister or...More Button

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

Amendment No. 11 not moved.More Button

I move amendment No. 13:More Button

In page 4, between lines 28 and 29, to insert the following:More Button

“(g) to prepare and publish annual reports on the performance of Government departments, agencies and local authorities in achieving energy efficient measures and targets.”.More Button

It is bizarre that we are prevented from discussing the previous amendment. The Minister of State can vote us down if the Government does not agree with us, but it is bizarre that we cannot debate ...More Button

Yes, the situation is daft and it is stifling debate.More Button

Amendment No. 13 proposes that the authority should prepare and publish annual reports. I do not know whether this amendment is in order as the authority would spend money on such reports which mig...More Button

Departments, Government agencies and local authorities use a lot of energy and it is important that a mechanism is inserted in the Bill to encourage State agencies to achieve energy efficient measu...More Button

The Minister of State suggested that there were many Departments and local authorities, but so what? We are talking about efficiency and saving money. It will be all the better if local authorities...More Button

There is a great deal in this amendment. It is not just about preparing annual reports but about what the Bill is trying to do and the purpose of an authority such as this. I hope the authority wil...More Button

However, we still need to cut back on waste. A mind set has developed in our society whereby we use something once and then throw it away. This uses up energy. If paper is being used unnecessarily ...More Button

We are not just talking about the direct use of energy but about avoiding waste through such means as insulation, conservation of heat, double or triple glazing, placing buildings to gain the maxim...More Button

The Minister of State appears to be contradicting himself. He tells us that it is very difficult for this authority to produce all these reports, carry out audits and so forth, but he told us on 3 ...More Button

This amendment would allow the sustainable energy authority to act as an independent examiner of these reports.More Button

These reports will be made available so would it not be logical for the authority to take them on board to analyse, assess and report on them. There could be dramatic savings achieved across the St...More Button

If what the Minister of State says is true, the reports are required anyway from all these agencies, authorities and Departments, but perhaps I misinterpreted what he said. These reports are to be ...More Button

As my colleague, Deputy Higgins of Mayo said, the State sector and the Departments would lead the way in energy efficiency and conservation and this is what we want to achieve by this amendment. I ...More Button

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

Amendment No. 14 not moved.More Button

I move amendment No. 15:More Button

In page 4, line 38, after “distribution” to insert “, conservation, efficiency”.More Button

We are happy with the powers of the authority as laid down, but one of the issues we wish to highlight is that in addition to the powers of compilation, extraction and dissemination of information ...More Button

The Minister of State has already indicated that the efficient use of energy and its conservation is important. It would add to the Bill if this amendment is accepted.More Button

I am sure the Minister of State will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe one of the projects the Irish Energy Centre is involved in at the moment is boiler efficiency. There is a national compe...More Button

The section refers to energy production and use. Use includes efficiency and conservation. It is a vitally important part of it and it is already doing the work. I cannot understand why the Ministe...More Button

Debate adjourned.More Button

Is the Minister of State accepting the amendment?More Button

I move amendment No. 19:More Button

In page 6, line 29, after “members” to insert “at least one of whom shall be elected by the employees of the Authority”.More Button

We see a need to have worker directors involved. We are aware that this is a small agency with a small staff but the principle is an established one. The Minister for Public Enterprise accepted an ...More Button

It is disappointing that the Minster of State is not of a mind to accept this amendment. I believe workers would have much to offer a board like this because this authority will require imaginatio...More Button

I agree that having somebody from the trade union pillar is important but it is not the same as having a person who is on the shop floor, as it were, represented on the board who can bring the conc...More Button

The Minister of State said he is of a mind to meet us some of the way. Why does he not meet us all the way and accede to this amendment? It should not make that much difference. What harm would it ...More Button

I am happy the Minister of State has accepted the thrust of the amendment we put forward on Committee Stage and I am pleased to agree with his version of the amendment.More Button

Amendment agreed to.More Button

I am happy the Minister of State has more or less accepted the amendment we put forward on Committee Stage. The amendment was designed to ensure that members of boards would have something to offer...More Button

Each member of the Board shall be a person who, in the opinion of the Minister, has experience and competence in relation to one or more of the following areas . . .More Button

I had included the word “wide” to provide, in some way, that a certain amount of experience would be required but I accept the Minister of State's comment that it is somewhat vague. We could possib...More Button

I move amendment No. 23:More Button

In page 6, between lines 29 and 30, to insert the following:More Button

“(2) The Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, shall nominate people to be members of the Board and each person so nominated, on accepting the nomination, and prior to appointment...More Button

Establishing a board of any State agency is an important matter. We have already improved on this Bill by laying down a list of requirements that members of the board should have. It is also import...More Button

There are people on State boards who are doing excellent work. Unfortunately, much of it is hidden and the public is not aware of it. Occasionally, matters of an unsavoury nature come to light, res...More Button

I am interested to hear what other Members have to say. I know the Minister of State had two reservations on Committee Stage. One was that people would be slow to come before a committee. On the ot...More Button

Another advantage of accepting the amendment would be that the members of the Oireachtas committee would become familiar with board members because they would be in a position to meet and discuss ...More Button

They would be required to answer questions with regard to qualifications, experience and so on, if the members so wished. There are very few positions in society nowadays that do not involve some f...More Button

If there was a reason somebody should not be appointed it could be brought out into the open in public by the committee and dealt with. The Minister might then decide to withdraw a nomination. Alte...More Button

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Amendment declared lost.More Button

Debate adjourned.More Button

Written Answers. - Marina Facilities.

Asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources: if he has given further consideration to the proposed developments at Youghal and Ballycotton, County Cork, to include marina facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers. - Hospital Waiting Lists.

Asked the Minister for Health and Children: the number of chronically sick persons awaiting beds in each health board area; the number of beds available in each health board area at present to cater for chronically sick young persons; and if...More Button