O'Rourke, Mary

Friday, 26 June 1998

Seanad Éireann Debate
Vol. 156 Nbr. 6


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

I note all the amendments tabled by Senator Costello and two of his colleagues. He was not here yesterday — I know he was busy with other matters — when we discussed on Second Stage ho...More Button

We had a good discussion on ESOPs on Committee Stage at the select committee and on Report Stage in the Dáil. Our Government brought in the Telecom Éireann ESOP, which the previous G...More Button

I am certainly in favour of ESOPs but this Bill is not the vehicle for it. It is clearly the way forward for State bodies but this is not the way to introduce an ESOP. I would encourage the union...More Button

I am in favour of employee share ownership. The way to ensure a company is successful is to give its workers a stake in it because they will want to work to ensure their return and their dividend. ...More Button

The Deputy said we were bringing this in because we were preparing to sell off the company. We had quite a long and constructive discussion on that matter on Second Stage yesterday. I explained yes...More Button

I have shown I am.More Button

It was longer than that.More Button

They had spoken.More Button

I do not intend to have a plan because that is Stalinist. I do not intend to specify that companies must behave in the same way. That approach is daft.More Button

Each company has strengths and weaknesses, different markets, types of employment and outlook. Some are better than others, some are more protected and some are subject to EU directives and legisl...More Button

I am broadly in favour of the kind of proposal set out in the amendment. The previous Government was unable to agree the share scheme at Telecom Éireann. The Senator is entitled to put dow...More Button

What is meant by the stipulation of 15 per cent? Workers at Telecom Éireann got 5 per cent for constructive changes and for the lowering of employee numbers. They then purchased their rema...More Button

We discussed this before and I noted the point the Senator is making. We approached the Attorney General for legal advice on this issue as it provoked a great deal of debate on Committee Stage. T...More Button

It would have to be referred to the Oireachtas so the legislation could be amended or a new Bill initiated.More Button

I asked about that this morning. There was a competition between the banks and the Bank of Ireland was chosen. The Competition Authority agreed to the Bank of Ireland having a monopoly. The conc...More Button

As the number of passengers has doubled since the first tender in 1993, I would be open to discussing the matter with the Minister, Deputy Harney, as the Competition Authority is within her area of...More Button

The discrepancy in charges, if it exists, is not my business but the Senator was right to bring it to my attention so that it would be addressed. The point Senator Ross made yesterday was timely. ...More Button

With regard to what Aer Rianta is charging for it, I will have that figure before the debate ends. I have sent for it.More Button

I will raise the matter with the chairman as early as possible next week and I will write to Senator Ross and make known the outcome to the other Members. I will ask the chairman to ensure that wh...More Button

We had a fair debate on this matter on Committee Stage in the select committee. Senator Costello wants to delete the subsection. Section 24(2) prevents anybody taking the company to court for not p...More Button

I would draw Senator Costello's attention to one of the company's aspirations which is laid out in section 23(1)(e), which states: “to engage in any business activity, either alone or in conjunctio...More Button

Question proposed: “That section 24 stand part of the Bill.”More Button

A key purpose of the Bill is to normalise Aer Rianta's position as a stand alone commercial semi-State company. This amendment would prevent or limit Aer Rianta's scope for normal commercial actio...More Button

Sometimes I am accused of being too intrusive in the business of semi-State companies. On other occasions I am told I am too distant from them. I know that in politics one cannot please all the p...More Button

The Senator is asking how the Minister keeps track of the activities of semi-State companies. I hold regular meetings with the chairmen or chairwomen of all semi-State companies at least once a mo...More Button

Sections 26 and 27 agreed to.More Button

Senator Costello is correct. When this point was discussed on Report Stage in the Dáil, I undertook to speak to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and report to the Seanad. T...More Button

I said I have spoken to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and she has confirmed that she would gladly agree to such a request.More Button

I am sure we will inform them. The request must come from them and I will pass it on to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. We will ensure they are aware of the mechanism. It can b...More Button

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

Sections 28 and 29 agreed to.More Button

Section 30 provides for the submission of the company's annual report to the Minister and that it would be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas for the information of Members. The proposals in...More Button

The matter is already dealt with under the Companies Act which requires companies to report within nine months from the end of their financial year and Stock Exchange regulations for quoted compani...More Button

Changes are being considered and it may well be that a shorter time span will emerge from that consideration. The provisions proposed by Senator Costello already exist. There are changes being pr...More Button

As it is being discussed at present it would be incorrect for me to put the matter into legislation. I understand the Senators' point. I took office a year ago today and there was a report from a...More Button

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

Amendment No. 8 not moved.More Button

Section 30 agreed to.More Button

Sections 31 to 47, inclusive, agreed to.More Button

Aer Rianta obviously has regard for safety but the Irish Aviation Authority is charged with implementing safety measures at airports and has statutory responsibility for the regulation of air safet...More Button

Over 40 Government and Opposition amendments to this Bill were accepted on Committee Stage in the Dáil, including one from Deputy Sargent. The similar amendment to this one and one relating...More Button

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

Sections 48 to 64, inclusive, agreed to.More Button

Deputy Yates proposed a similar amendment to this one on Committee Stage in the Dáil. We brought it to the parliamentary draftsman who redrafted it in more legal terms. The amendment addre...More Button

We inserted a new section in the Bill to deal with this and I consulted the Attorney General and the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on it. I was told that any new provision would be...More Button

Deputy Costello's amendment has the same intention and specifies the Defence (Amendment) Act, 1987, which is an adaptation of the relevant sections of the 1973 Act. The 1987 Act extends restrainin...More Button

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

Section 65 agreed to.More Button

First and Second Schedules agreed to.More Button

Title agreed to.More Button

Bill reported without amendment and received for final consideration.More Button

Question proposed: “That the Bill do now pass.”More Button

I thank Senator Costello for his remarks. He and I once fought on different turf.More Button

I thank Members for a fruitful debate on the Bill. It was interesting to listen to the various points of view expressed. Like the Leader of the House, Senators Liam Fitzgerald, Costello, O'Dowd a...More Button

I recognise that Senator Costello is diligent and the amendments he tabled were carried over from the Committee and Report Stage debates in the Lower House where they could not be taken. His amend...More Button

This has been a useful debate and I thank my officials for their diligence in preparing me for it. Above all, I am glad to be in the Seanad because the atmosphere in this House allows for reflectiv...More Button

In his own way, Senator Ross contributed strongly to the debate. Senator Henry referred to the need for Aer Rianta staff to be conversant in foreign languages and I am sure the management of the c...More Button

Adjournment Matter. - Rent Subsidy.

I am responding on behalf of the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs, Deputy Dermot Ahern, who is away. I listened carefully to Senator Costello's contribution. The Senator deals wit...More Button

The purpose of the rent supplement is to assist with reasonable accommodation costs of eligible persons living in private rented accommodation. Entitlement to the supplement is determined by the he...More Button

The Eastern Health Board has introduced a new computerised system about which Senator Costello has reservations. This system in the specialised housing unit for rent supplement payments has been i...More Button

The basis for the new system is sound. Some people consider the need to collect their payments undignified. The computerised system offers the facility to pay rent supplement directly to the appl...More Button

I am aware of the issue raised by Senator Costello. Two cases were referred to my office this week as the new system will be operational in the other health board areas soon. I undertake to speak...More Button

The Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs has done much good work regarding the budget management scheme which is of great assistance to people. The new system for rent supplement wil...More Button

The Senator's concern is duly noted. I am sure the Minister would say that the scheme should be given a chance because it will be worthwhile if it works. I will pass on the Senator's concerns to ...More Button

The Seanad adjourned at 12.20 p.m. until 12 noon on Tuesday, 30 June 1998.More Button