Costello, Joe

Friday, 26 June 1998

Seanad Éireann Debate
Vol. 156 Nbr. 6


Air Navigation and Transport (Amendment) Bill, 1997: Committee and Remaining Stages.

I move amendment No. 1:More Button

In page 10, after line 51, to insert the following new subsections:More Button

“(3) The company may, subject to subsection (4), issue shares from time to time as part of one or more employee profit sharing schemes subject to such terms and conditions as may be approved by the...More Button

(4) The aggregate amount of the shares of the company standing issued at any one time as part of one or more profit sharing schemes shall not exceed 15 per cent. of the total issued share capital...More Button

The legislation has been introduced to prepare for the sell off of Aer Rianta. Aer Rianta is one of our more successful semi-State operations and we are putting it on a statutory commercial basis;...More Button

In such circumstances the first issue that needs to be addressed is the protection of employees and to look at new concepts. The Minister is thinking in this direction, whereby the semi-State sect...More Button

I am glad to hear the Minister is in favour of providing employee profit sharing for the semi-State sector. However, it is not good enough to simply say one is in favour of it——More Button

——if one does not implement it at every available opportunity.More Button

The Bill has been 30 years in gestation and the Minister is a newcomer to the Department. I am sure she expects to spend a good four years in that ministry and another six months would not stand i...More Button

This element could be built into the legislation as a role model and flagship approach for doing business in the semi-State sector. It would be better to insert it in the terms we have proposed be...More Button

Senator Fitzgerald said we did not participate in the debate on Second Stage. Our slot for speaking is tenth. The debate on the Bill lasted for approximately one hour.More Button

When Senator Quinn spoke I waited for the next speaker from the other side of the House. There was nobody on this side.More Button

The Labour Party——More Button

Senator Fitzgerald raised the matter. Apart from Senator Ross, Senators on both sides recognise that employees in semi-State companies should participate in some element of profit sharing.More Button

I am pleased the Senator agrees with the amendment. The amendment states: “. The company may, subject to subsection (4), issue shares from time to time as part of one or more employee profit shari...More Button

We are interested in both profit sharing and shares in equity and shares in the company. My preference is to protect the assets in the first instance with a holding company and to then proceed wit...More Button

What about principles and guidelines?More Button

I move amendment No. 2:More Button

In page 11, between lines 22 and 23, to insert the following new subsection:More Button

“(4) Save as authorised by the following subsection, the Minster shall not transfer or alienate any of his or her shares in the company.”.More Button

I am concerned that we are preparing the fatted calf for sale. The Minister, as it stands, may transfer or alienate shares from the company without referring to the Oireachtas. I am concerned tha...More Button

Is the Minister saying the Bill is sufficiently broad to ensure that any change in the shareholding or any disposal by the Minister for Finance would have to be referred to the Oireachtas for appro...More Button

I am satisfied with that.More Button

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

Section 10 agreed to.More Button

Section 11 agreed to.More Button

Amendment No. 3 not moved.More Button

Sections 12 to 15, inclusive, agreed to.More Button

Question proposed: “That section 16 stand part of the Bill.”More Button

I am delighted that Senator Cassidy is concerned about the Labour Party. I remind him that we won the last two by-elections.More Button

I thought I made it clear why I was unable to be in the House yesterday.More Button

I commend Senator Ross for raising this matter. He is always right when he speaks about competition, particularly in financial institutions. It is outrageous that Bank of Ireland, which has a monop...More Button

I move amendment No. 4:More Button

In page 19, lines 7 to 11, to delete subsection (2).More Button

It seems that this subsection would render much of the Bill meaningless in that it states:More Button

Nothing in section 23, this section or the memorandum of association of the company shall be construed as imposing on the company, either directly or indirectly, any form of duty or liability enfo...More Button

It seems to suggest that nothing whatsoever in the memorandum, the section or the subsection shall make the company liable before the courts. If that is the interpretation of it, then there are no ...More Button

I move amendment No. 5:More Button

In page 19, between lines 39 and 40, to insert the following new subsection:More Button

“(4) The company shall not alienate any interest in land comprising an airport vested in or owned or managed by it.”.More Button

The purpose of this amendment is to ensure that there shall be no permanent disposal of the company's assets or property. Section 26 allows the company to “appropriate any part of an airport veste...More Button

The section makes no provision for any permanent disposal of property. I wish to ensure that that continues to be the case. The legislation appears to leave the Minister free to go beyond that an...More Button

The Minister is saying the airport will operate on a purely market basis and the company will be free to alienate or dispose of any part of its property on a permanent basis. What constraints does ...More Button

I move amendment No. 6:More Button

In page 20, between lines 31 and 32, to insert the following new subsection:More Button

“(5) Not less than one-third of the directors of any subsidiary shall be persons appointed to be directors of the company under the Worker Participation (State Enterprises) Acts, 1977 to 1993, who ...More Button

This amendment, like the others I have tabled, seeks to influence the direction in which semi-State companies develop as they are released from the control of the State. It is desirable that worke...More Button

I am pleased with the Minister's response. She says that on the request of the staff of the company she will look favourably on——More Button

What timescale is involved? Have the staff and management been informed of that option?More Button

I move amendment No. 7:More Button

In page 21, before section 30, to insert the following new section:More Button

“30.—Not later than 6 months after the end of each accounting year of the company, the company shall make a report in writing to the Minister of its activities and those of its subsidiaries d...More Button

It should be normal practice that a report is made to the Minister in the interests of accountability and transparency and so that the Minister will be informed. The report should also be made ava...More Button

We wanted a time specified in the legislation because it is a problem if reports and financial statements arrive later than they should. If a time is specified in legislation it may focus minds. ...More Button

I move amendment No. 9:More Button

In page 36, before section 48, to insert the following new section:More Button

“48.—(1) Whenever the Irish Aviation Authority is of opinion that the unrestricted use of a particular area of land in the vicinity of an airport owned or managed by the company would interfe...More Button

(2) The Minister shall make regulations to enable this section to have full effect.”.More Button

This amendment relates to the debate in the Dáil on the need for personnel to ensure that developments do not interfere with or restrict the activity of an airport. This section deals with ...More Button

I move amendment No. 10:More Button

In page 42, after line 18, to insert the following new subsections:More Button

“(5) Section 6 of the Defence (Amendment) Act, 1987 shall apply with any necessary modifications to a person who the captain of any aircraft reasonably believes to be committing an offence under th...More Button

(6) For the purpose of determining the venue for the institution of proceedings, an offence under this section may be prosecuted in the District Court Area in which the aircraft concerned arrives i...More Button

(7) For the purposes of this section an act done during a flight originating of terminating in the State shall be deemed to have been done in the State.”.More Button

This amendment strengthens the role of the captain on a flight. It provides for the meting out of almost immediate justice if a passenger is unruly on a plane. A District Court can deal with the ...More Button

Like Senator Cassidy, I congratulate the Minister and I welcome the passing of the Bill with the caveats to which she referred included. The amendments put forward in this House sought to improve ...More Button

I am sure we will do so again. The Minister is doing a good job in coming to terms with her brief. I congratulate her and her staff for the manner in which they dealt with the legislation.More Button

Adjournment Matter. - Rent Subsidy.

This matter relates to the rent subsidy paid by the health boards to people in need of accommodation in private rented dwellings. It has come to my attention that in the past week or so some variat...More Button

Since the Monday before last, many community welfare officers began issuing rent subsidy payments at health centres — heretofore such payments were made at post offices — where people n...More Button

In my opinion there are many vulnerable people living in private rented accommodation, such as the homeless, drug addicts and those who do not look to the future in terms of cash in hand. These peo...More Button

Now that people are receiving their rent subsidy payments direct they are obliged to pass the money on to their landlords weekly. I am not usually contacted directly by landlords in respect of the...More Button

The Department or the health boards decided — I am sure with the best intentions — to streamline the system and make payments on a weekly rather than a four weekly basis. If landlords ...More Button

A new unit was established in Park House to work on the new system which was introduced with the best intentions. However, unless logic in the planning department in Park House corresponds to what...More Button