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Harney, Mary

Wednesday, 27 March 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 551 Nbr. 3


Order of Business.

The Order of Business is No. 25, motions re Partnership Agreement between the Members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States of the one part, and the European Community and its membe...More Button

—No. 29, motion re Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, back from committee; No. 30, motion re Referral to Select Committee of proposed approval by Dáil &Ea...More Button

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that: (1) the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. tonight and business shall be interrupted not later than 11.00 p.m.; (2) Nos. 2...More Button

In relation to Deputy Noonan's query, the Taoiseach was operating on the basis of the same information I and every other member of the Government had, and that was unsatisfactory. Key information w...More Button

Some time ago the Government appointed High Point Rendel to do a cost analysis of the project. That report has now been published. To the best of my memory, it speculates that excluding the cost of...More Button

With four Deputies in this Dáil, I have not done too badly.More Button

I wish I had as many Deputies as Deputy Noonan. I might have done more.More Button

In relation to the aquatic centre, everybody on all sides of the House and in the Government was anxious to ensure that facility would be in place for the Special Olympics next summer, and we are a...More Button

In relation to Deputy Howlin's query, a meeting held yesterday in advance of the Government meeting came to the conclusion that for this project to proceed and the Campus and Stadium Ireland Develo...More Button

would be asked to take over the chairmanship of the board and a civil servant would be made available to act as chief executive officer. That was the agreement reached, which was subsequently confi...More Button

The Taoiseach brought the memorandum to Government under his authority. The memorandum was not proposed by anybody other than a member of the Government, as the Deputy is well aware. It was brought...More Button

They were asked.More Button

The first time I became aware that PricewaterhouseCoopers had alerted the CSID chairman was when I read it in The Irish Times about two weeks ago.More Button

Even after the dormancy issue arose in The Irish Times, when the Minister, Deputy McDaid, wrote to the chairman on two occasions in the earlier part of this month, he was not told that on 18...More Button

—PricewaterhouseCoopers had alerted the chairman and people in the executive services company to the problems in relation to this company, and at no stage was any member of the Government or ...More Button

Many questions were asked. That is the problem.More Button

In relation to the contract, the Deputy is correct. There is a contract in place which was signed some time ago.More Button

I understand from the Attorney General that it does.More Button

The contract has been signed between CSID and the parties the Deputy mentioned. I am not a lawyer. I will not interpret the status of that contract but I understand it does stand in full.More Button

In relation to Deputy Howlin's query and the question of the memorandum raised by Deputy Noonan, it is in line with Government practice and procedures that memoranda are circulated for observations...More Button

There have been many times, including during the life of the Government of which Deputy Noonan was a part—More Button

The assessment panel concluded its assessment on the morning of the 19th. The planning application had to be made by the end of December. Everybody was anxious to ensure that we had this facility. ...More Button

But the memorandum in early December was circulated. Notwithstanding the fact that it did not come before Cabinet until 25 January, the appropriate information was not given. This was at a time whe...More Button

The Attorney General gave his views, yes.More Button

One of the concerns was that so much work had happened without any contract.More Button

You do not know that.More Button

Deputy Flanagan should read the report.More Button

In relation to Deputy Howlin's question as to whether if we had known all we know now might we have made a different decision, we may well have made a different decision. I am not certain we would ...More Button

Deputy Howlin is asking me if the Government would have agreed to give a 30 year contract to a company that was not a significant operator, was not part of the international consortium that was sug...More Button

The executive services contract is a contract between CSID and the company in question. In the first instance, therefore, it is a matter for CSID to look at that contract. Now that there will be a ...More Button

That is what all of this has been about. It is not about personalities, it is about taxpayers. Given that the Government is the only shareholder and given the wishes of the Government, I hope that ...More Button

Order of Business (Resumed).

The regulations have been signed. I understand the Garda Commissioner has sought clarification on this from the Attorney General before he will issue guidelines to his members. This is a road safet...More Button

If there are difficulties, l hope they can be solved so that road safety issues take priority.More Button

I would like to join Deputy Coveney in expressing my sympathy and that of the Government to the family of the late Fr. Declan O'Toole. It was a dreadful tragedy. He was a man doing so much good in ...More Button

I understand the heads of that Bill are still being drafted. I cannot give a precise date for its publication.More Button

The heads of that Bill—More Button

I hope I will be welcome.More Button

The Government approved the heads of that Bill some time ago and the intention is to publish it very shortly. I am always optimistic about the possibilities.More Button

Competition Bill, 2001 [ Seanad ] : Report and Final Stages.

I move amendment No. 1:More Button

In page 5, line 24, after “ENACTMENTS,” to insert “TO AMEND THE INDUSTRIAL AND PROVIDENT SOCIETIES ACT, 1893, WITH RESPECT TO THE REQUIREMENTS FOR CERTAIN SPECIAL RESOLUTIONS THEREUNDER,”.More Button

Last week on Committee Stage I indicated my intention to introduce on Report Stage an amendment to the Industrial and Provident Societies Act, 1893. The purpose of this is to facilitate structural ...More Button

Amendment No. 43 is a substantive amendment. It was intended to introduce this amendment as part of a separate Bill to modernise industrial and provident societies legislation. However, the draftin...More Button

I move amendment No. 2:More Button

In page 8, line 35, after “any” to insert “arrangements constituting”.More Button

On Committee Stage I accepted the principle of an amendment tabled by Deputies Flanagan and Perry to clarify the terms of sections 4(8) and 5(3). Since then the parliamentary counsel advised that f...More Button

Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 3:More Button

In page 9, line 13, after “any”, to insert “arrangements constituting”.More Button

Amendment agreed to.More Button

The answer to that is “no.” In view of the concerns expressed about section 6(2), I looked at the drafting again to see if it were possible to tighten further the provisions and am now proposing a...More Button

I move amendment No. 5:More Button

In page 9, line 27, to delete “which” and substitute “the purpose of which is to”.More Button

Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 6:More Button

In page 9, line 28, to delete “fixes” and substitute “fix”.More Button

Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 7:More Button

In page 9, line 31, to delete “limits” and substitute “limit”.More Button

Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 8:More Button

In page 9, line 32, to delete “shares” and substitute “share”.More Button

Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 9:More Button

In page 9, to delete lines 37 to 44.More Button

The fact that I was giving further consideration to sections 6(3) and 7(2) and seeking legal advice on the matter was signalled on Committee Stage. My immediate cause of concern was that the defenc...More Button

Second, I consider that the justification for such a defence has largely disappeared since it was included in our law in 1996. At that time, the criminalisation of breaches of criminal law was nove...More Button

Deputy Flanagan's amendment No. 11 seeks to exempt farmers and farmers' associations from the application of Article 81(1). It has been said that the proposed amendment mirrors an exemption that al...More Button

The proposed amendment is clearly based on this provision but crucially omits the qualifying phrases to the effect that the exemption operates only where “there is no obligation to charge identical...More Button

Farmers have a great deal to gain from competition law. Farmers are also buyers of products and services and the rigorous application of competition law can have a significant impact on their own c...More Button

I have always responded quickly when farmers' organisations complained of unfair or anti-competitive practices, for example, when I established the independent group to examine anti-competitive pra...More Button

As for the Competition Authority, I am not aware of any situation where it has interfered with activities by farmers' organisations that comply with the provisions of Regulation 26/62. The chairman...More Button

I move amendment No. 10:More Button

In page 10, to delete lines 40 to 45.More Button

I move amendment No. 12:More Button

In page 12, lines 27 and 28, to delete “, manager, or other similar officer of the undertaking,” and substitute “of the undertaking or a person employed by it whose duties included making decisions...More Button

I wish to advise the House that there is an error in this amendment. Rather than amending subsection (6) of section 8, it should amend subsection (7) of that section. The correct text, therefore, o...More Button

In page 12, lines 34 to 36, to delete “a director, manager or other similar officer of the undertaking concerned,” and to substitute “a director of the undertaking concerned or a person employed by...More Button

These amendments arise from the Committee Stage debate. At that time, Deputies Rabbitte and Flanagan pointed out that the term “manager” was sweeping and could cover a person who holds a relatively...More Button

Following the advice of the parliamentary counsel, I tabled these amendments to introduce a more clear-cut wording.More Button

I move amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 12:More Button

In page 12, lines 34 to 36, to delete “a director, manager or other similar officer of the undertaking concerned” and to substitute “a director of the undertaking concerned or a person employed by ...More Button

I understand it was circulated to the Deputies' offices today.More Button

In the light of the changes made to subsection (7) by virtue of my earlier amendment, whereby the class of persons who can be made liable has been confined to senior personnel only, I hope that the...More Button

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

I move amendment No. 13a:More Button

In page 12, line 41, to delete “subsection (7)” and substitute “subsections (6) and (7)”.More Button

Following a review of section 8 the draftsman has noted the need for a minor technical amendment. This has been introduced in the interests of clarity and mirrors the provision in the existing legi...More Button

Amendment agreed to.More Button

I did not dream it up.More Button

It came from the review group.More Button

Yes and that group was chaired by an eminent senior counsel, Michael Collins. The Law Society which is very concerned about defendants' rights has raised no objections to this.More Button

Having re-examined the relevant part of the review group's report, I am satisfied these provisions are justified and necessary and do not undermine the constitutional rights of defendants. The revi...More Button

In the light of these factors, I am satisfied the provisions are justified and necessary and I cannot, therefore, accept the amendments.More Button

It would be undesirable to frag ment responsibility for the enforcement of competition law. That would inevitably result if we confer these functions on the sectoral bodies concerned. As I indicate...More Button

It should be noted that the Competition and Mergers Review Group considered the issue and concluded that the authority should retain exclusive jurisdiction to administer competition law in all sect...More Button

The courts are very reluctant to grant exemplary damages and this amendment would make them even more reluctant. I agree with the Deputy's objective but it would be counter productive and, therefor...More Button

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

Amendment Nos. 18 and 19 not moved.More Button

I move amendment No. 20:More Button

In page 16, lines 41 and 42, to delete “, manager and similar officer of the undertaking,” and substitute “of the undertaking and person employed by it whose duties included making decisions that, ...More Button

Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 21:More Button

In page 17, to delete line 25 and substitute the following:More Button

“undertakings, orMore Button

(c) the result of an acquisition by one undertaking (the 'first undertaking') of the assets, including goodwill, (or a substantial part of the assets) of another undertaking (the 'second und...More Button

These amendments deal with an issue that was raised by both Deputies Flanagan and Perry where one undertaking acquires assets or part of another undertaking. On Committee Stage I said I would consi...More Button

I move amendment No. 22:More Button

In page 18, line 42, after “agreed”, to insert “or will occur if a public bid that is made is accepted”.More Button

This issue was also raised by Deputy Perry on Committee Stage. I outlined a new provision, section 3(2), to ensure the acquisition of a controlling interest by any means is notifiable within one mo...More Button

I move amendment No. 23:More Button

In page 19, line 13, after “agreement”, to insert “or the making of the public bid”.More Button

Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 24:More Button

In page 19, line 17, to delete “and”.More Button

Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 25:More Button

In page 19, line 18, before “an undertaking” to insert “subject to paragraph (c),”.More Button

Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 26:More Button

In page 19, line 21, to delete “acquisition.” and substitute the following:More Button

“acquisition, andMore Button

(c) in relation to a merger or acquisition that will occur by reason of the acquisition concerned being an acquisition referred to in section 16(1)(c)More Button

(i)subparagraphs (i) and (iii) of paragraph (a) of subsection (1), in their application to the second-mentioned undertaking in section 16(1)(c), shall apply as if...More Button

(ii)notwithstanding paragraph (b), that second-mentioned undertaking shall, for the purposes of paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (1) but not so as to place on it an o...More Button

Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 27:More Button

In page 19, to delete lines 22 to 26 and substitute the following:More Button

“(3) If–More Button

(a)2 or more undertakings agree to a merger or acquisition, orMore Button

(b)a merger or acquisition will occur if a public bid that is made is accepted,More Button

being in either case a merger or acquisition to which subsection (1) does not apply, any of the undertakings which have agreed to or are involved in the merger or acquisition may notify the ...More Button

Amendment agreed to.More Button

The media retains powers, subject to Oireachtas approval. I said last week if someone could give me a good example I might be inclined to keep such a provision, but in 24 years it has not been used...More Button

There are many examples where ministerial influence on particular decisions has been shifted to independent bodies. We are shifting the power in relation to mergers to the Competition Authority so ...More Button

Nobody has put forward a good public interest reason for retaining this section. I indicated last Friday that I might take another view if somebody gave me a good example of this. Essentially, my a...More Button

I move amendment No. 29:More Button

In page 21, between lines 5 and 6, to insert the following:More Button

“(c) subject to subsection (4), the period specified in subsection (2) of section 21 has elapsed without the Authority having informed the undertakings which made the no...More Button

This issue relates to tacit approval of a notified merger after one month where the Competition Authority fails to inform the notifying parties that it either intends carrying out a second phase in...More Button

Amendment agreed to.More Button

Amendment No. 30 not moved.More Button

I move amendment No. 31:More Button

In page 21, between lines 18 and 19, to insert the following:More Button

“(4) Notwithstanding subsection (1)(c), the failure by the Authority to inform the undertakings concerned of the matter referred to in that provision shall not operate to permit the merger o...More Button

Amendment agreed to.More Button

Amendment No. 32 not moved.More Button

I do not disagree with the arguments made by Deputies Higgins, Rabbitte and others. I said last Friday that no section of this Bill was discussed for more time than this one and on Committee Stage ...More Button

Having looked at the issue and having taken advice from officials and others, I came to the conclusion that the most effective way to ensure more competition is to examine the matter on a case by c...More Button

The crux of the issue is the definition of the market. As I said last week, there are daily, weekend, tabloid and provincial markets, so it is hard to define the overall market. Among the newspape...More Button

I do not deny that it would be feasible.More Button

Given that we have gone through most of these arguments before, I have not been overly intervening because of the late hour. In case Deputy Rabbitte is in any doubt, the proposal I am following in ...More Button

I wish to point out to Deputy Perry that the Examiner Group is a good example because it has 21% of the evening paper market. This amendment provides that it could not grow to more than 20% of the ...More Button

It appears strange that we are arguing the Minister should retain this residual power in the public interest from time to time, although it has not been used for the past 24 years. When we say we a...More Button

For all of those reasons I do not believe this amendment could or would achieve what Deputies Rabbitte and Higgins set out to achieve.More Button

Deputy Rabbitte is wrong.More Button

I move amendment No. 34:More Button

In page 25, to delete lines 38 to 40 and substitute the following:More Button

“‘broadcasting service' means a service which comprises a compilation of programme material of any description and which is transmitted or relayed by means of wireless telegraphy, a cable system or...More Button

In response to concerns expressed on Committee Stage in the Seanad and the Dáil as to the coverage of all forms of media under the Bill, I undertook to reconsider the definition in the Bill....More Button

I have reconsidered the definition in subsection (12), taken out the reference to licensing and added:More Button

“or any other transmission system, directly or indirectly for reception by the general public, whether that material is actually received or not, and includes a sound broadcasting service within th...More Button

Subsection (13) has been deleted completely. The omission of any references to statutes under which transmission or retransmission is licensed means that the definition in the Bill is not dependent...More Button

The amendment means there is a consequent amendment to the definition of broadcasting service. This definition was taken from the Broadcasting Act, 2001. The definition is now fully quoted in the s...More Button

The result of these amendments is that the section now covers any technology whereby television or radio is transmitted or retransmitted.More Button

In relation to the definition, I understand it was taken from the Broadcasting Act, 2001. The Internet is excluded because one cannot, as we know, control it. There is open access to—More Button

I am told that for legal consistency, we are going with the definition in the Broadcasting Act and that we are not talking about anything that is relayed to specialist or particular groups but abou...More Button

I move amendment No. 36: More Button

In page 26, lines 38 to 44, to delete all words from and including “, pursuant” in line 38, down to and including “1988” in line 44 and substitute “of programme material by means of wireless telegr...More Button

Amendment agreed to.More Button

Section 24 should be seen in the wider context of the transfer of the merger responsibilities to the authority which is one of the main new features of the Bill. Had we not provided for the appeal ...More Button

If the Minister does not request the authority, it does not have to inform.More Button

I am advised that what is involved here is that the Minister does not have to request the views of the authority on non-competition issues – in other words, they are solely a matter for the M...More Button

Written Answers. - Work Permits.

Was asked: and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if a work permit renewal can be immediately issued for a person (details supplied); when the documentation will be issued; and if she will make a s...More Button

I have checked with the work permits section of my Department and am informed it has no record of having received a valid renewal application on behalf of the individual concerned.More Button

Was asked: and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if a person of non-EU nationality who is married to an Irish national and residing here is entitled to seek employment here; if an employer wishing...More Button

A non-EEA national who is married to an Irish national does not require a work permit to work in this country provided both parties are resident in the State and the appropriate stamp has been acqu...More Button

Written Answers. - Deregulation of Pharmacies.

Was asked: and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the reason she sought to deregulate pharmacies while discussions were taking place with representatives from pharmacies; and if she will make a sta...More Button

While overall responsibility for the pharmacy sector rests with the Minister for Health and Children, my interest as Minister with responsibility for competition, is to seek to ensure as far as pos...More Button

Since my attention was drawn to restrictions on entry to the retail pharmacy profession a number of years ago, I have advocated the lifting of restrictions on entry to the profession particularly ...More Button

Since I became aware of the restrictions, the OECD has also commented adversely in regard to competition in the retail pharmacy area and the Minister for Health and Children set up a review of the ...More Button

*The regulations were revoked by the Minister for Health and Children following advice from the Attorney General.More Button

Written Answers. - Personal Injuries Assessment Board.

Was asked: and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will assist the small and medium business enterprises which are paying increasing insurance premia by establishing a personal injuries asses...More Button