Order of Business.
Solicitors (Amendment) Bill, 1991: Order for Second Stage.
Regional Technical Colleges Bill, 1991: Second Stage (Resumed).
Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers.
Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Renunciation of Libyan Support for IRA.
Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Northern Ireland Talks.
Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Intergovernmental Conferences.
Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Iraqi Civilian Population.
Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Repeal of UN Resolution.
Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - EC Commission Membership.
Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Unaccompanied Patrols.
Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Irish Aid Programme.
Private Notice Question. - Threatened CIE Strike.
Adjournment Debate Matters.
Regional Technical Colleges Bill, 1991: Second Stage (Resumed).
Adjournment Debate. - Border Roads Closure.
Adjournment Debate. - Cambodian Peace Initiative.
Adjournment Debate. - Maternity Leave Pay.
Written Answers. - EC Treaty Proposals.
Written Answers. - EC Treaty Provisions.
Written Answers. - EC Treaty Provisions.
Written Answers. - Proposed Committee of Regions.
Written Answers. - Recognition of Croatian and Slovenian Independence.
Written Answers. - Defence Policy.
Written Answers. - EC Treaty Proposals.
Written Answers. - Yugoslavian Conflict.
Written Answers. - European Constitution Provisions.
Written Answers. - EC Aid to Former Eastern Bloc Countries.
Written Answers. - Safety of Nobel Peace Prize Winner.
Written Answers. - EC Treaty Provisions.
Written Answers. - European Parliament Location.
Written Answers. - EC Treaty Proposals.
Written Answers. - Defence Policy.
Written Answers. - EC Treaty Proposals.
Written Answers. - Human Rights Matter.
Written Answers. - Western Saharan Referendum.
Written Answers. - Consulate in Monaco.
Written Answers. - Disposal of Toxic and Poisonous Substances.
Written Answers. - Health Care for Children.
Written Answers. - Anglo-Irish Conference Meetings.
Written Answers. - Forum for Discussion on Security Matters.
Written Answers. - Middle East Peace Talks.
Written Answers. - Establishment of Newfoundland Consultate.
Written Answers. - Economic Aid to USSR Countries.
Written Answers. - Leitrim-Fermanagh Border Crossing.
Written Answers. - Sanctions Against South Africa.
Written Answers. - Ministerial Visits Abroad.
Written Answers. - Aid for Sudanese Refugees.
Written Answers. - Public Service Code of Conduct.
Written Answers. - Syrian Presence in Lebanon.
Written Answers. - Appointment of Harbour Boards.
Written Answers. - Bangladesh Aid.
Written Answers. - Ministerial Visits to Libya.
Written Answers. - Job-sharing and Career Break Scheme.
Written Answers. - Emigrant Figures.
Written Answers. - Agri-Tourism Grants.
Written Answers. - Planting of Fruit Trees.
Written Answers. - Leader Programme Applicants.
Written Answers. - Grant Payments.
Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.
Written Answers. - Commission on Social Welfare.
Written Answers. - Under-Age Drinking.
Written Answers. - Westmeath Crime Statistics.
Written Answers. - Mortgage Subsidy Payment.
Written Answers. - House Improvement Grant.
Written Answers. - New Taxi Licences.
Written Answers. - Reports on Homeless.
Written Answers. - Disabled Person's Maintenance Allowance.
Written Answers. - Medical Negligence Premium Payments.
Written Answers. - Raheny (Dublin) Hospice.
Written Answers. - GMS Service.
Written Answers. - Junior Certificate Examination Results.
Written Answers. - Dublin Central Model School.
Written Answers. - Trinity College Postage Stamp Issue.
Written Answers. - Shannon Airport Development.
 Chuaigh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar 10.30 a.m.
The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take Nos. 4, 14, 15 and 16. It is also proposed that the Dáil shall meet tomorrow at 10.30 a.m. and shall adjourn not later than 4 p.m.
An Ceann Comhairle: I have to ask the House if the proposal in relation to tomorrow's sitting is agreed? Agreed.
Mr. J. Bruton: On the order of business, given that the Whips must meet within the next hour to consider the business for next week, can the Taoiseach give an indication as to whether he expects the Government to seek time to appoint Ministers next week?
Mr. Yates: Who will do the appointing?
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Quinn.
Mr. J. Bruton: The Taoiseach's failure to give an answer does not show any great confidence——
An Ceann Comhairle: The question has been posed——
Mr. J. Bruton: In view of the fact that the Whips will meet within the hour, it would be useful to know if the Taoiseach feels there will be a requirement of time——
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has put his question to the Taoiseach and the Chair has facilitated him. Deputy Ruairí Quinn.
Mr. Quinn: In view of the substantial and significant speech he made yesterday at the ICM seminar in UCD, may I ask the Taoiseach if he could indicate to the House when time will be made available to debate Maastricht prior to 9 and 10 December? Could he also indicate in his reply the proposals he intends bringing forward to establish a European affairs committee which I think is generally recognised by all sides to be extremely necessary?
The Taoiseach: I know there were other things on the Deputy's mind yesterday but I dealt with that matter yesterday. I suggested——
Mr. Ferris: There was nothing on the Taoiseach's mind.
The Taoiseach: Nothing, it was as clear as a summer sky.
Mr. Currie: It was almost vacant.
Mr. J. Bruton: The Taoiseach emerged from a clear summer sky during the battle of Britain.
The Taoiseach: The Deputy was dreary on television last night.
Mr. G. Mitchell: What did the Taoiseach think of Deputy Charlie McCreevy?
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy De Rossa.
Proinsias De Rossa: In view of the fact that the Minister for Finance. Deputy Reynolds, got his figures wrong in the budget——
A Deputy: Where is he?
Proinsias De Rossa: ——can he be certain he has got his figures right in the present heave against the Taoiseach? I notice that the Minister is not in the House at present.
Mr. Allen: The country and western brigade are missing this morning.
Proinsias De Rossa: The Taoiseach has given us an indication that we will see the budget Estimates before Christmas. May I ask him if we will see them before the end of this month or has Government business been put on hold for the moment?
The Taoiseach: I have already said on a number of occasions that work on the Estimates is proceeding apace and is well advanced. I am sure the Deputy will appreciate that work on the Estimates this year is very difficult. The Deputy will understand that in one way the Estimates form the entire basis of the budget and, therefore, we are devoting a great deal of care and attention to them. I can assure the Deputy that this work is well advanced. I cannot yet say when the book of Estimates will be published but our ambition is to have it before the Christmas recess.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: May I ask the Taoiseach when he expects the long promised phone tapping legislation (1) to be circulated and (2) to be debated and passed into law and whether he agrees that there is a case for putting the safeguards on phone tapping into place immediately on a non-statutory basis?
The Taoiseach: The Bill is on the list for this session.
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Quinn.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: May I ask the Taoiseach to reply——
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has posed his question. We cannot have elaboration now. Deputy Quinn.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: I asked——
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has had his reply.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: I am sorry, a Cheann Comhairle, but I have not. I asked when the Bill would be circulated, debated and passed into law and if the Taoiseach agreed that the safeguards on phone tapping should be put into place immediately on a non-statutory basis. I got a reply to the first part of my question but I did not get a reply to the other two parts.
A Ceann Comhairle: This should not lead to argument or debate.
The Taoiseach: The Deputy is not entitled to receive a reply to the other parts of his question. The only information I am obliged to give the Deputy at this stage is that the Bill will be taken this session. Matters such as the timing of its passage through the House are matters for the Whips. With regard to the contents of the Bill, the Deputy will know that when he sees the Bill.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: The Taoiseach is not keen to give any further information on phone tapping.
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Quinn has been called.
Mr. Quinn: I should like to get some clarification from the Taoiseach in relation to the specific matter I raised, the European affairs committee. When will that committee be re-established with their new terms of reference?
The Taoiseach: We are working on it at the moment.
Mr. Quinn: Does that mean before Christmas?
The Taoiseach: I hope so.
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Eric Byrne has been offering.
Mr. Byrne: Will the Taoiseach allow the Minister for Finance, Deputy Reynolds, and the Minister for Labour, Deputy Ahern, some time off over the weekend to address the very serious CIE public transport strike which——
An Ceann Comhairle: I thought the Deputy has something very relevant to raise on the Order of Business.
Mr. Byrne: It is very relevant to those communters who are left without public transport.
An Ceann Comhairle: It is not relevant now, Deputy. Deputy McCartan.
Mr. Byrne: CIE are——
An Ceann Comhairle: Sorry, Deputy Byrne, desist.
Mr. Byrne: Perhaps the Taoiseach would like to reply.
The Taoiseach: I find the Deputy's phraseology peculiar — if the Ministers concerned would take time off to fix this strike.
Proinsias De Rossa: It is the reality.
A Deputy: From all accounts he will need the votes.
Mr. McCartan: In view of the absence of the Minister for Labour and the total indifference by the Minister for Justice to the administration of justice, may I ask the Taoiseach if he will intervene on behalf of the Government to try to  resolve the long running courts dispute which is leading to chaos?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy knows that there are ample ways and means of raising such matters in the House.
Mr. McCartan: Last night the Minister for Justice announced that he was not going to involve himself directly in the dispute, as we have asked him to do in this House. I am now asking the Taoiseach if he will——
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy knows it is inappropriate to raise such a matter on the Order of Business. Deputy Jim Higgins.
Mr. McCartan: Rape trials are being adjourned and people are not being brought to trial. The whole situation is ridiculous.
Proinsias De Rossa: The Government are ridiculous.
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy McCartan has made his point.
Mr. J. Higgins: In view of the fact that the Industrial Relations Bill, 1990, enshrines the principle of secret ballots, may I ask the Taoiseach if it is a principle with which he generally agrees?
An Ceann Comhairle: Please, Deputy Higgins.
Mr. Ferris: I asked the Taoiseach on yesterday's Order of Business——
The Taoiseach: The result of the last Fine Gael secret ballot was very peculiar.
Mr. Ferris: I asked the Taoiseach a question on yesterday's Order of Business about motion No. 49 on yesterday's Order Paper. He promised to communicate with me but I know yesterday was a difficult day. This motion refers to  the disabled persons (maintenance allowances) regulations. It is a statutory instrument which, if it is to be annulled, must be annulled within a specific number of sitting days. I sought permission from the Taoiseach to give Government time to debate this matter. It is a Government statutory instrument and we need Government time to debate it, otherwise it may not be annulled.
The Taoiseach: The Government have no intention of annulling them.
Mr. Ferris: I understand there is already a legal problem about this instrument and that a High Court case is pending.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has made his point.
Mr. J. Bruton: Will the Government provide time?
Mr. Harte: In view of the growing concern on both sides of the Border about the Du Pont incinerator for the burning of toxic waste and the role which the Government are suspected of playing on this matter and in view of the fact that the Minister for the Environment has not made it clear will the Taoiseach, if he is still speaking to the Minister, get him to make a statment or will the Taoiseach clarify the position?
An Ceann Comhairle: That was the subject of discussion in this House quite recently.
Mr. Harte: The Minister for the Environment has not made the position clear and I am asking the Taoiseach to do so.
An Ceann Comhairle: No, Deputy Harte, the matter may not be raised now.
Mr. S. Barrett: A Cheann Comhairle, may I ask you in your capacity as Chairman of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges and, presumably, as Chairman of the broadcasting committee of the  House, whether RTE may edit the radio report of the Dáil from an entertainment value point of view or should edit it from a reporting point of view? I am quite serious in asking this question. Those who listened to the “Morning Ireland” programme this morning heard that yesterday's proceedings in the Dáil were dominated by the argument between the Taoiseach and Deputy Spring. There was no mention of the fact that some of us spent six or seven hours debating the Committee Stage of the Criminal Damage Bill, or of Question Time or of the fact that there was a vote on a Private Members' Bill.
An Ceann Comhairle: I have allowed the Deputy some latitude. I am sure he feels strongly about the matter——
Mr. S. Barrett: Excuse me, a Cheann Comhairle——
An Ceann Comhairle: ——and there are ways and means of communicating his concern in the matter through the appropriate channels in this House such as the Committee on Procedure and Privileges and the broadcasting committee.
A Deputy: Surely this is the place.
Mr. S. Barrett: As Chief Whip I supported the introduction of broadcasting of the Dáil proceedings. I am concerned that if the committee are not doing their job this matter will be approached from an entertainment as distinct from a reporting point of view. I am asking the Chair, in his capacity as chairman of that committee, to see to it that the proceedings of the Dáil are reported and that people are made aware of what goes on in this House.
An Ceann Comhairle: I will bring the Deputy's strong views to the attention of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges and the broadcasting committee of the House.
Proinsias De Rossa: When are you going to call a meeting of the Committee?
An Ceann Comhairle: I gather there may well be a meeting next week.
Proinsias De Rossa: Are you calling it?
An Ceann Comhairle: No, this will be held in the normal way.
Proinsias De Rossa: Who is calling the meeting?
An Ceann Comhairle: I understand that a meeting is likely to be held next week to consider the Houses of the Oireachtas draft Estimate for 1992. We are awaiting information from the Minister for Finance in the matter.
Proinsias De Rossa: Who is calling the meeting?
An Ceann Comhairle: I will be calling the meeting at the request of the Members concerned.
Mr. Howlin: In relation to the point raised, there is a little confusion. There are two committees, one is the broadcasting committee which is in existence but the other, the Broadcasting Control Committee, is not in existence yet. It has the job of monitoring but has never met. The job of that committee is to monitor the broadcasting of the proceedings of this House. May I ask when that committee will meet and be up and running to do the job given to it by the House.
Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Mr. V. Brady): This matter has been discussed by the Broadcasting Control Committee and the Committee on Procedure and Privileges and steps are being taken to set up that committee very shortly.
Mr. Howlin: It does not exist.
Mr. G. Mitchell: Since the Chair is looking into the matter raised by Deputy Barrett will he also look at the contractual obligation to cover the committee of the House. That is part of the contractual obligation——
Mr. Wilson: The Deputy is well covered.
Mr. G. Mitchell: Yet, committees of the House are never covered. This is an important point; it is not a funny matter. The Committee of Public Accounts receive plenty of coverage. We work very hard.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: The Chairman does.
Mr. G. Mitchell: The problem is that committees of the House are not being covered.
An Ceann Comhairle: Perhaps the Deputy's colleagues will raise the matter at the meeting.
Mr. G. Mitchell: I am asking the Chair as he is raising the matter which Deputy Barrett addressed, if he will raise this matter which has been referred to over the years?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy can submit the matter for consideration for the agenda of the meeting in question.
Bill entitled an Act to amend and extend the Solicitors Acts, 1954 and 1960, and to provide for related matters.
Minister for Justice (Mr. Burke): I move: “That Second Stage be ordered for Tuesday, 12 November 1991, subject to agreement between the Whips.”
Question put and agreed to.
Question again proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time”.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Regional Technical Colleges Bill, 1991 and the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill, 1991  are being taken together. The Minister for Education, Deputy O'Rourke, was in possession.
Minister for Education (Mrs. O'Rourke): I fear the massive interest is not in education but, perhaps, on other matters.
Mr. Creed: The Minister will not be in it much longer.
Mrs. O'Rourke: I am very glad of the buzz, it is very exciting. When the debate was adjourned yesterday I was half way through my speech. I look forward to the Second Stage debate and the many varied and valuable contributions by speakers from all sides of the House. Yesterday concluded my reference to the colleges and the DIT.
The Bills seek to address the problem in two ways. First, they seek to strike a reasonable balance between greater freedom and autonomy for the institutions in their day-to-day operations while maintaining traditional links with the Vocational Education Committee system. Secondly, they will enable the institutions to engage in research, development and consultancy work for business and industry as well as to enter into arrangements, including participation in limited companies so as to exploit the results of their work. It would be as well to keep the two objectives firmly before us.
While continuing to play a vital role in the provision of highly skilled personnel, essential to our evolving industrialised economy, the institutions will also be able in the future to increase and improve their interaction with business and industry and to reach their full potential in contributing to national technological development. In this context the contribution made to business and industry by the highly skilled staff involved must not be forgotten.
Mr. Deasy: May we have a copy of the Minister's speech.
Mrs. O'Rourke: They were distributed yesterday. I am in the middle of my speech. I understand one is obliged to produce the script on just one occasion. I would be delighted to send a copy to Deputy Deasy; it is riveting material.
I now propose to outline to the House the provisions of the Bills as presented. My remarks on the individual sections apply to both Bills and I will indicate points of difference as they arise.
Section 1 provides for the Acts coming into operation on a day appointed by ministerial order.
Section 2 deals with the interpretation of the various terms used in the Bills.
Section 3 of the Regional Technical Colleges Bill establishes the existing nine colleges as well as the Limerick College of Art, Commerce and Technology as regional technical colleges. It also provides for bringing the Crawford College of Art and Design and the third level courses in the Cork School of Music and the Hotel Training and Catering School in Killybegs within the scope of the Act. Provision is also made for bringing other educational institutions within the scope of the Act and for such institutions or part of them becoming part of a regional technical college in the future as well as for changing the name of a college.
Section 3 of the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill provides for the establishment of the institute and that it will be constituted from the six existing colleges and will comprise such and so many colleges as may be determined by the Minister on the recommendation of the governing body of the institute made following consultation with the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee. Provision is made for the incorporation of other educational institutions or a part of an institution into the institute in the future.
Section 4 sets out the persons who will be members of a college or the institute.
Section 5 sets out the functions of the colleges and the institute. The principal function will be to provide vocational and technical education and training for the economic, technological, scientific, commercial, industrial, social and cultural  development of the State. To this end they will provide courses of study and enter into arrangements with appropriate authorities for the award of degrees, diplomas, certificates and other educational awards. Provision is also made for engaging in research, consultancy and development work, either separately or with other institutions, to provide services in relation to such work and to enter into arrangements, including participation in limited companies, to exploit the results of this work. The Dublin Institute of Technology will, subject to the recommendation of the academic council, retain the power to award its own diplomas, certificates and other awards. Additional functions may be assigned to the colleges or to the institute by order of the Minister made with the concurrence of the Minister for Finance and the formal approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas. Degree awarding powers could at the appropriate time be assigned to the Dublin Institute of Technology under this provision.
Section 6 provides for the establishment of governing bodies. In the regional technical colleges the governing body will consist of a chairperson and 15 ordinary members and the director of the college. The members will be appointed by the Minister on the recommendations of the appropriate vocational education committees. Six persons will be nominated by the vocational education committee, one will be a member of the academic staff, one will be a representative of the non academic staff, one will be a student of the college, one will be nominated by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and five will be nominated by such other organisations and interests as the vocational education committee considers require representation having regard to the particular courses in the college and the overall membership of the governing body.
The governing body of the Dublin Institute of Technology will consist of the chairperson, 17 ordinary members and the director of the institute. The additional members allow for two representatives of the academic staff and a  representative of the University of Dublin. The staff and students will nominate their representatives in accordance with regulations which will be made by the governing bodies. Accordingly, it is necessary to have interim governing bodies for a one year period to allow these regulations to be made. When the Bill is operative there will be an interim period of one year, because staff and students will nominate their representatives in accordance with regulations which will be made by governing bodies when they are set up. So far as possible the composition of these first governing bodies have been kept the same as it will be for subsequent governing bodies, with the Minister nominating persons to the positions available for staff and student representatives. This is provided for in subsection (3) of this section in both Bills.
The Second Schedule to both Bills sets out the detailed arrangements in relation to governing bodies.
Section 7 provides for the functions of the governing body, which will be exercised subject to general policy and to the programmes and budget approved annually. The functions will include managing the affairs of the college or institute, including land and buildings vested in the Vocational Education Committees, and performing the functions conferred on the college or institute by the Bill. This section provides also that the governing body may appoint committees, that it will bear constantly in mind the national aims in relation to the Irish language and culture and that the institute or a college may be required to cease providing a course or service.
Section 8 provides for the removal from office of the members of a governing body or for a dissolution of a governing body where the Minister is satisfied that its functions are not being duly discharged or it fails to comply with a lawful order of the Minister or of a court of competent jurisdiction. This section provides also for the transfer of the functions of a governing body to any person or  persons and re-establishment of a governing body in place of a dissolved body within two years of its dissolution.
Section 9 provides for the appointment and other matters relating to the director. The selection of the director will be a function of the governing body. The third schedule to both Bills relate to the director. In the regional technical colleges a person who is employed as principal of a college at the commencement of the Act, if that person so consents, shall be the first director of that college.
Section 10 in the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill provides that a head of college shall be appointed for each college determined under section 3 of the Act. A person who is employed as the principal of one of the six existing colleges, if that person consents and is recommended by the governing body, may be appointed as a head of college.
Section 10 of the Regional Technical Colleges Bill and section 11 of the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill provide for the appointment by the governing body of academic councils and prescribes the functions of such councils. These functions will include to design, develop and implement courses of study, to make recommendations to the governing body for the establishment of appropriate structures to implement the courses of study, to make recommendations on programmes for research and development work and to make recommendations for the selection, admission, retention and exclusion of students.
Section 11 of the Regional Technical Colleges Bill and section 12 in the Dublin Institute of Techology Bill provide for the selection of staff by a college or by the institute, for their appointment by the vocational education committee and for the determination by the college or institute of their numbers, pay and conditions of service subject to the usual approval. The staff of a college or the institute will be officers or servants of the vocational education committee for the purposes of certain provisions of the Vocational Education Act, 1930, the Vocational Educational Education  (Amendment) Act, 1944, and for the purposes of the Local Government Superannuation Act, 1980. The vocational education committees shall be the body resposible for dismissal, suspension or removal from office, but only on the recommendation of the governing body and in the case of removal from office with the consent of the Minister. This preserves the existing conditions of staff in these matters. This was a point strongly impressed on me by the TUI over 12 months ago.
Section 12 of the Regional Technical Colleges Bill and section 13 of the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill provide for matters relating to existing staff. These will become staff of the college or the institute, but as in the provisions of sections 11 and 12 above, certain provisions of the Vocational Education Act, 1930, the Vocational Education (Amendment) Act, 1944, and the Local Government Superannuation Act, 1980, will continue to apply. Staff employed by a vocational education committee on work concerned with the administration of a college or other institution covered by the Bills may also be appointed to the college or institute. Existing staff who become staff of a college or of the institute under this section shall not receive less remuneration or be subject to less beneficial conditions of service than those applying before the coming into operation of these Acts. It is a necessary safeguard.
Section 13 in the Regional Technical Colleges Bill and section 14 of the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill set out the provisions in relation to the annual submission, approval and implementation of programmes and budgets for the colleges and the institute respectively. They provide that the college or institute will annually prepare and submit to the vocational education committee operational programmes and budgets. These will be submitted to the Minister with or without modification and will be approved by the Minister with or without modification.
Section 14 of the Regional Technical  Colleges Bill and section 15 of the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill provide for the preparation and submission of an annual report and for the provision of such other information as may be required.
Section 15 of the Regional Technical Colleges Bill and section 16 of the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill provide that annual grants may be paid to the colleges and the institute out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.
Section 16 of the Regional Technical Colleges Bill and section 17 of the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill provide that a college or institute must keep proper accounts which will be submitted annually to the Comptroller and Auditor General for audit. These sections provide also that copies of the accounts and the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General will be laid before the Houses of the Oirechtas.
Section 17 of the Regional Technical Colleges Bill and section 18 of the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill provide that the college or institute may charge fees or make other appropriate charges for services or events.
Section 18 of the Regional Technical Colleges Bill and section 19 of the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill deal with the transfer of property and liabilities. These sections provide that land, which includes buildings, vested in or acquired by a vocational education committee for the purposes of a college or the institute will be held in trust by the vocational education committee for the college, or institute. On the establishment date all property — other than land — rights and liabilities held before the establishment date by the vocational education committee for a college or the institute will be transferred to the college or the institute.
Section 19 of the Regional Technical Colleges Bill and section 20 of the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill provide that contracts in force and legal proceedings pending, other than in relation to land, before the establishment date will be preserved or continued by substituting the name of the college or the institute for  that of the vocational education committee.
Section 20 of the Regional Technical Colleges Bill and section 21 of the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill provide for inspection of a college or the institute and for the purpose of reporting on the efficiency of the instruction being given or on any other matter relating to the operation of a college or the institute.
Section 21 of the Regional Technical Colleges Bill and section 22 of the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill provide for the expenses incurred in administering the Acts
Section 22 of the Regional Technical Colleges Bill and section 23 of the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill provide for the making of regulations with regard to the operation of the colleges and the institute and for laying such regulations before the Houses of the Oireachtas.
Section 23 of the Regional Technical Colleges Bill and section 24 of the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill provide for the short title in each case.
In summary, therefore, the Bills seek to: retain the Regional Technical Colleges and the DIT within the Vocational Education Committee structure while establishing them as self governing institutions; provide a framework for the operation of the institutions subject to general policy and within the operational programmes and budgets which would be drawn up annually by the governing bodies subject to the approval of the appropriate Vocational Education Committee and the Minister; give each institution through its governing body the responsibility and necessary authority to manage and administer its own affairs within approved policies, programmes and budget; establish governing bodies with appropriate representation from the Vocational Education Committees, the staff, the students, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and other interests appropriate to the activities of the institutions; provide directors and academic councils for the DIT and each of the Regional Technical Colleges; provide a statutory basis for participation in research, development and consultancy work  including, where appropriate, participation in limited companies in order to fully exploit results of such work; provide that the DIT will continue to have authority to award qualifications other than degree awards, although this function could be conferred later by ministerial order made with the approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas.
I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the vocational education committees under whose management the colleges have grown and developed. Their contribution cannot be underestimated. They provide the base from which the colleges from such small beginnings have grown to their present stature and from whence these Bills will provide them with the framework to enter a new phase of growth and dynamism. I would like to pay particular tribute to the men and women who have worked so hard for the colleges in their capacity as members of the boards of management and college councils in the regional technical colleges and members of the governing body, the joint academic council and individual college councils in the Dublin Institute of Technology. I have no doubt that much of the expertise and experience gained by these bodies over the years will continue to be available in the context of the new structures as now proposed.
It would be remiss of me at this stage not to acknowledge the enormous contribution of the principals and staff of the colleges and of the institute to the success of these institutions since their beginnings. This contribution will, I know, continue and be enhanced within the remit of these new Bills.
I would wish also to take this opportunity to acknowledge the significant contribution to the development of the colleges which has been made by the National Council for Educational Awards over the years. The acceptability and recognition nationally and internationally of NCEA awards, its flexibility in adapting to changing needs and continuing strong demands for its expanding range of awards, attest to their success. I  look forward to the continuation of this successful partnership.
The Bills are very comprehensive and do all that is necessary to give the institutions greater autonomy and freedom in the conduct of their day to day activities, which is in keeping with the state of development the institutions have reached and the potential they have to contribute to our educational, technological and economic development. I have an extensive and detailed round of consultations with parties interested in these Bills. Many points were of course made to me during these consultations and I am considering them at present, which may of course lead to amendments on Committee Stage. I know we will have a very interesting discussion on the Bills and I will, of course, be very open to giving serious consideration to suggestions and proposals which will be made in this House and in the upper House that are with a view to improving the texts of the Bills in line with their general intent and thrust.
Before concluding, I would like to make a few points. We had a half an hour on another day and this is the first full day of debate on Second Stage. When I spoke on Tuesday evening we sketched the historical background. I dwelt upon that, first because of my own natural interest in history — I always seek to go back to the beginnings of things. It was interesting to trace the origins of the regional colleges and the reports in the sixties leading to their setting up. The regional colleges are more or less 21 years of age in this year of 1991. That in itself is significant.
What has been achieved by those colleges is truly remarkable. I have a great affection for the Vocational Education Committee third level system. I cut my teeth there as a public representative, first as a board member, then as chairperson of the board of management in Athone Regional Technical College and later as chairperson of the Vocational Education Committee. I was there from the beginning of the colleges and through my work there was able to trace the development of other colleges, meeting  with chairs of other colleges and with governing bodies and members of boards of management.
There is no doubt about the impact that these colleges have made on the life of the regions, not just on the cohort of students. That itself is significant because it brings great life to a town. The regional colleges were set up to serve the needs of a region and they have always taken that remit very seriously. Following on from that they have become national colleges as well. However, their national remit has never obscured their regional one, the one of catering for the developmental needs of a particular region. They have always sought to amplify and put into true perspective the development of the region which they serve.
The people who took over at the helm and who were pioneers in this area of education remain as principals of these colleges and their vigour and enthusiasm have not dimmed. This is remarkable when one considers their travails and the developments they have had to oversee and the budgetary controls and constraints under which they had to work under Governments of all hues. They have constantly sought to increase their numbers and enlarge the number of courses on offer. From their traditional beginnings when they offered leaving certificate courses and apprenticeships they have moved on to certificate, diploma, graduate and, in some instances, post-graduate courses. It seems that the principals and staffs of these colleges and the vocational education committees who administer them have never lowered their targets or allowed their vistas to become dimmed.
It is truly exhilarating to think of what has been achieved over a relatively short span of time of 21 years. If this country was not ready and willing, under Governments of all hues, to move quickly with the developments which occurred during this period in technological education we would now find ourselves in a truly backward position. It is because we were prepared to move quickly with developments that we were able in the  heady days of the late sixties and early seventies and are now able in steadier and perhaps sombre times to cater for the growing needs of our young workforce and young people coming out of second level schools who are eagerly demanding and seeking, as is their right, third level education. Each year each college and vocational education committee take another leap and provide another degree course, look to Europe for moneys, provide another phase of physical development, albeit at a much slower pace than we would wish if money was plentiful. However, ERDF funding and national funding have already begun to make a difference.
It is a fact that the vocational education committees and the colleges have never said no to students and argued that they just cannot cope any more. Perhaps one could say that they have been too generous and have kept their doors constantly opened. They feel, however, that theyhave a duty to this State and the potential of our young people, that their slot in the third level system is enormously important and they want to contribute, and they have. When the educational history of the country comes to be comprehensively written it will be seen that their role was hugely important and they contributed to the range of expertise.
Earlier in the debate I traced the historical origins of the Dublin Institute of Technology. If I dwelt too long on the regional technical colleges the reason is that I have a close knowledge of the way these colleges operate. Equally, I admire the historical role that the colleges of the DIT have played and the way they have evolved over a much longer timespan. The origins of technical education can be traced back to an artisans exhibition in 1885 when it was suggested that these colleges might be used to provide education for the working classes in Dublin. On Tuesday evening I went on to trace the physical developments and to point out that it is now the largest third level institution in the country if we combine all their resources and student numbers together. The various qualifications obtained in many spheres of professional  competency in the Dublin Institute of Technology are now judged to be of the very high standards. In the course of my duties as Minister for Education I have come across firms, both national and international, who have taken on those graduates and attest to their very high standards of competency and the skills they have obtained through their colleges. This was made possible through the link between the vocational education committees and the existing colleges and due to the fact that the principals and staff of those colleges have always forged ahead with their pioneering role.
Before I conclude I would like to embrace a wider issue which I am sure will be raised on the floor of the House by way of the various amendments that will be put forward. The spirit and thrust of the Bill is a generous one. No one is seeking to take away from, add to or diminish in any way groups, bodies, institutions or individuals. What the Bill seeks to do is to give these colleges, the individual regional technical colleges and the six colleges of the DIT, more space to grow further and develop, to engage in further research and development — they have been carrying out some but not on a statutory basis — maintain the balance between removing them and keeping them, to give them greater autonomy in the day-to-day running of their affairs, to give the heads, the directors, or presidents, or whatever title we give them greater discretion and powers in the day-to-day running of their affairs of their own very formidable institutions while at the same time keeping the traditional link with the vocational education committees.
Let me repeat something which I said on Tuesday. It is important that we approach the Bill in a proper way. When I started to reflect on the Bill I realised, from my own experience, that the link with the vocational education committees was valuable so I decided not to go ahead with what was proposed in the 1987 Bill which would have severed them completely. I wanted at the same time to  give the colleges, as I said, more space, an opportunity to grow further and develop and to allow the people running those institutions to make their own decisions on certain matters which affect them on a daily basis.
I venture to suggest with some modesty that the officials of my Department, the parliamentary draftsman and I have sought to give expression to that thrust and maintain the very fine balance between the two opposite sides of the debate. I look forward to the debate on Second Stage and to any amendments which may be brought forward. As I said, I am open to receiving amendments which might improve Members' estimation of the texts or thrust of the Bills. I would like to say, again, that the thrust is to give them greater autonomy and allow them to carry out research on a statutory basis. I hope that the amendments will go along with the main thrust which we feel we have achieved. There is no sense of anybody wanting to take in a pirate like fashion anything from anybody; we just want everyone to get on with their business in a modern advanced way as befits the colleges at their present state of development.
I commend the two Bills to the House and I look forward to the debate.
Mrs. T. Ahearn: I note that the relaxed, cheery, pleasant manner of the Minister on Wednesday evening seems to have been replaced this morning by a very serious note. I gather it is an indication of other serious business which must be addressed. It is regrettable that these two Bills, in spite of their importance, sadly will not get the priority on the political agenda that they deserve——
Mrs. O'Rourke: Whether I am serious or gay, I am here.
Mrs. T. Ahearn: I acknowledge that the Minister is making a good effort to concentrate on the business and if she is elevated to a higher position I hope she will retain her interest in the Bills on Committee Stage. I wish her well.
Mrs. O'Rourke: I thank Deputy Ahearn for her good wishes.
Mr. J. Higgins: Mná na hÉireann.
Mrs. O'Rourke: We left the fir behind anyway.
Mrs. T. Ahearn: The Regional Technical Colleges Bill, 1991, and the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill are long overdue. The surprise is that since the regional colleges and the Dublin Institute of Technology were set up in 1970 for the next 21 years no Bill was introduced in this House to deal with them. Fine Gael welcome these Bills in principle.
The Minister gave a very adequate account of the development of technical education. The Regional Technical Colleges were set up to provide post primary technical education — in other words, to provide education at technical level. This was identified as an area in which Ireland was deficient. Several reports in the sixties referred to our deficiencies in these areas. Therefore, if Ireland was to become more industrialised, if we were to take our place among the modern nations of Europe, it was necessary and urgent for us to rectify our deficiencies in the field of technology.
The majority of our second level schools provide for the most part a very good academic education. The products of this system — the students who went on to third level education — proceeded in the main to follow academic courses of study. As a result our country found itself without the skills necessary for a modern industrialised State. Indeed, there were many areas of concern in the seventies. Our middle management was weak. We had research scientists but very few applied scientists. We had qualified engineers and skilled workers, but in the area in between we were very weak. We had qualified accountants and people who studied business to leaving certificate level, but again in the great area in between we had none. To fill this great vacuum which existed at technician and middle management level was the reason for setting up the colleges. Their aim was  to educate and to train so that people could apply their knowledge to the economy.
When the first regional technical colleges and the Dublin Institute of Technology were set up in the seventies it was a time of great hope. The end of the sixties had been good, emigration had dwindled to a trickle and indeed many who had emigrated were returning home. The first regional technical colleges employed many returned emigrants, some had completed their education in Britain, the US and in many other countries. They had done research in foreign lands, studied for higher degrees, they had experience of working in manufacturing, scientific establishments and in business concerns. They brought this great reservoir of knowledge and experience back to their native land and it was utilised by the Regional Technical Colleges. Their contribution to this country has been immense and deserves recognition.
The first regional technical colleges were built in Carlow, Waterford, Athlone, Dundalk, Sligo and Letterkenny to the same design and, sadly, on the cheap. What a pity to see such massive concrete blocks staring blankly into space. Our aesthetic sense in 1969 and in the seventies was not very well cultivated and as a result the buildings were drab and unimaginative; they were simply functional. It is a sad contrast with the palatial buildings of UCD, Trinity College, University of Limerick and Dublin City University. While there might be some excuse for the parsimony of the seventies, Regional Technical Colleges do not get their fair share of the national educational cake in the nineties. Facilities for students, such as canteen and library, are not on par with those in the universities. In fact the library facilities in the majority of our colleges are a disgrace, indeed they are almost non-existent. Despite repeated requests for improved facilities, it is now clear that this Government, sadly, do not consider proper and adequate libraries as a priority for students at regional technical colleges.
 The same is true in regard to facilities for staff. Why should this be so? The greatest “bang for the buck”, as a former Fianna Fáil Minister once put it, in third level education in Ireland is given in regional technical colleges. Colleges which began with fewer than 200 students in 1970 now have well over 2,000. Indeed, some of them have increased their student numbers by 100 per cent since 1985. Some regional technical colleges which were built for a certain number of students are now educating 600 or 700 more. Where else will you get this kind of inefficiency? These colleges deserve these Bills, but also more resources. They have answered the call of the nation in providing more third level places, but better facilities for both students and staff and now urgently called for.
There is another important point I would like to make. The first regional technical colleges are now over 20 years in existence. The build-up of staff in the colleges took place between 1975 and 1983. Many of these staff members began work in the colleges around their late twenties. The great majority of staff in regional technical colleges are now in 1991 between the ages of 40 to 50 years. Because so few staff have reached retirement age, very few new staff are being appointed. In ten years' time most of the staff will be between 50 and 60 years. This is a bad age profile for the colleges. To rectify this matter and for the good of the colleges I would recommend to the Minister that she offer a once off retirement package to the regional technical colleges so that new staff members can be appointed, where innovation and creativity and, above all, modern education techniques are so important. I hope the Minister will give serious consideration to this proposal.
Eventually regional technical colleges will have the same natural wastage as other colleges, but in the meantime a retirement package would help solve the poor age profile of the present staff. This proposed retirement package should be offered to people who are over 50 years of age. It would not cost much and the  benefits to the colleges of being able to appoint new staff would be immense. I would like the Minister to seriously consider this suggestion. I believe that it is a worthwhile one.
We in Fine Gael, as I said, welcome these Bills. The regional technical colleges and DITs were set up under the 1930 Vocational Educational Act. The colleges were run by a board of management, which was a sub-committee of the Vocational Education Committee of the area in which the college was located. These vocational education committees and boards of management did marvellous work in the last 20 years. A lot of it may not be very dramatic and much of it was no doubt tedious, but the regional technical colleges of today are monuments to their great endeavours.
Decisions made at board of management level since the regional technical colleges were set up had to be ratified by the Vocational Education Committee and this made the decision-making process rather slow and cumbersome. Also the regional technical colleges have grown and developed to an extent not envisaged in 1970. They now provide not just certificates and diplomas but degrees as well. They are engaged in research and consultancy. They have forged close links with industry. A number of them, through their research areas, have students doing higher degrees. Now, after 20 years, it is time to give more automony to the regional technical colleges. It is time to allow them to run their own affairs on a day-to-day basis. It is time to allow them to respond quickly and positively to changes in the environment in which they operate. It is for these reasons that we in Fine Gael welcome this Bill in principle.
We have some queries with the details of the Bill, but we welcome the general thrust of the document. We will be putting down some amendments on Committee Stage and we hope that the Minister will look favourably, as she has suggested, on those amendments. They have been carefully throught out and if  they are incorporated in the Bill it will be much improved.
It is then in a positive and constructive manner that I will dwell briefly on some areas of these Bills in which I will be seeking changes. The title “regional technical college” was very suitable and apt back in the seventies when colleges in the main provided technical education for a region. I believe that today their regional character should be retained in their title, but recognition must now be given to the numerous and varied courses that have evolved and developed over the years, not only in the technology area but also in the business and scientific fields. The title regional technical college is perceived by staff and students as ignoring the fact that business studies, art and design and the social sciences account for over half of the students in regional technical colleges.
Section 5 of the Bill defines the principal functions of a college, which are to provide vocational and technical education and training for the economic, technological, scientific, commercial, industrial, social and cultural development of the State. I believe that these functions should be encompassed in the college title and for these reasons in future the regional technical colleges should be called regional polytechnics.
To retain the present title of regional technical colleges is misleading. It ignores the fact that business studies, art and design and the social sciences account for over half of the students attending a regional technical college. It also in a sense undersells all that the colleges have achieved. The title “regional polytechnic” will adequately represent the extent and the variety of courses offered in the colleges. Furthermore, it is an internationally recognised title.
The title “polytechnic” will assist regional technical colleges in forming partnerships in the various EC programmes, such as ERASMUS, COMETT and TEMPUS, as potential partners in other EC countries and the emerging democracies of eastern Europe, where this title is applied to a  third level colleges with a programme profile of a typical Regional Technical College in this country. It is also very important as we move towards the single market and towards greater co-operation and interaction in education at all levels.
The student body in each college is the most significant part of the college. We in Fine Gael believe that this Bill must give greter recognition to student needs. In general up to three-quarters of the students in any college are living away from home. Others commute up to 30 miles a day, leaving home very early in the morning and not returning until late at night. The governing body must be given a specific mandate in these Bills to provide for the mental and physical wellbeing of the student body. The Bill, as it stands does not include such a provision and I believe that on Committee Stage it is important that such a provision be included.
I welcome the inclusion of a student representative on the governing body. However, this could be a daunting place for any one student to articulate the needs of their fellow students. I believe the welfare and voice of the students deserves the provision of two places on the governing body. I hope that the Minister will be agreeable to such a proposal on Committee Stage.
In the First Schedule, ten vocational education committees are listed in column 3 under the heading of the functional areas in which the colleges are situated. No mention is made in the Bill of all other vocational education committees. Fine Gael believe that the governing body of the colleges must reflect the needs, concerns and aspirations of the region from which they draw the majority of their students. Accordingly, we will be proposing a role and function of a consultation to the governing body by all of the vocational education committees within a college region.
The concept of regional involvement and accountability is very important and therefore we believe that Schedule 1 should contain a new concept for the  associated vocational education committees. These committees are linked to each college and should be listed in a new column 4 in the First Schedule to the Bill. Perhaps this is also a suitable time for the Minister to review the catchment areas or the associated vocational education committees to each college. They should be updated on the facts now available on participation of vocational education committees to the colleges. At the moment the associated vocational education committees who nominate members onto the board of management of the nearest regional technical college have a negligible direct input into the formulation of programmes of work at the regional technical colleges.
This is the time to ensure a real worthwhile role for the associated vocational education committees. When the director and senior staff of a college are drafting the programmes and budgets for each year, a meeting with the director and his senior staff along with associated vocational education committees should be held for the purpose of discussion and planning. It would be shameful if we ignored what could be a most valuable input by the associated vocational education committees.
We all agree that it is time that regional technical colleges and DIT establish closer links with the third level education area. Since their institution the situation has evolved to the extent that the courses run in the colleges are third level certificate, diploma and degree courses. The colleges are therefore essentially third level institutions and the actual work of the colleges has grown considerably from the original concept of the regional technical colleges and DIT.
The Bill gives an enhanced capacity to the colleges to deliver programmes, to enter into contracts and to be responsible for debts. For too long they were too restricted in this regard and as a result many colleges missed contracts to sister institutions. The legislation will also enhance the colleges' ability to develop  research and academic links with European and other foreign colleges and, hopefully, will result in an increase in the number and extent of student exchange programmes, a matter of considerable relevance with the prospect of the single market.
It is right that due and proper tribute is paid to the National Council for Educational Awards under those aegis the colleges have developed. The success of the many graduates is an endorsement of the quality and standing of the NCEA awards. However, both colleges wish to be in the future conferred with the right to award their own degrees. I must point out that all the colleges give just recognition to the universities, with whose co-operation they are offering degree courses at the moment. The colleges, in particular the DIT, at this stage rightly claim to have long experience of teaching to degree level. In fact, they claim to have greater experience in this field that either Dublin City University or Limerick University. As a result they rightly believe that, as such, they must have earned the right to award their own degrees. I look forward to a major discussion of this section of the Bill on Committee Stage. The Minister in her speech said that she envisages in the future special powers could be assigned to the Dublin Institute of Technology under the provision of section 5. However, I suggest that now is the time to give the colleges this power to award their own degrees. If they can be given power in the future surely they can be given it at this stage. I hope the Minister will give very serious and positive consideration to this important issue.
I welcome the introduction of these Bills; but, sadly, in the context of the needs of third level education in general, they are but a pebble in the sand of the third level system.
The cry for the provision of extra places gets louder and louder as students are pressurised to achieve more and more points to squeeze through a narrowing door. The fact that so many of our students achieve so much, in the midst of this turmoil is an indication of their  determination and courage and a reflection on the dedication and trojan work of our teachers. Let me ask, however, are we fair to allow this system to continue. Are we fair as we force our students to reproduce the product of so many hours of intensive study into a three hour examination? Are we fair as we discard and ignore the importance of career or job suitability by depriving our students of good, sound and professional career guidance, and are we, as a result, pushing round pegs into square holes? The answers to these questions, I admit are not easy; but they must be a work priority.
It is of paramount importance that we collectively decide to make two things possible: first, to provide a larger number of places in third level education and, second, to ensure greater access by all to third level education. In addition to providing extra places we must provide proper and sufficient library places. Student accommodation is another area which badly needs serious attention.
The scandal of the inequities of the third level grant system must be ended quickly. The Minister must recognise that PAYE workers and their families are being discriminated against in the assessment for grants. Indeed, many low income families are excluded because the income threshold is far too low. Equality of opportunity has a hollow ring as we review these inequities, yet we still claim it to be the hallmark of our education policy.
We must seriously review the system to ensure that our students can have the opportunity to realise their potential and use their talents. I sincerely hope that the commitment given in this regard in the Programme for Government will be honoured very soon.
As I said earlier, it is now almost 20 years since the first students were admitted to the regional technical colleges and the Dublin Institute of Technology colleges. These colleges have emerged as institutions of high standing, both nationally and internationally. Time has permitted their graduates to demonstrate their ability in a wide range of disciplines,  from technology to the science and business domains and always at the highest level. The recognition of their achievement is well known to parents and students alike and is reflected in the high level of competition for admission, the high quality of those students admitted and by the high demand for graduates. They have indeed played their anticipated role in stimulating economic development, introducing educational innovation, and both have been directly and indirectly responsible for a wide range of new enterprises which have been created by their graduates.
Education will always require vision, vigour and courage in its planning process. In recent years all aspects of education have grown in complexity with a proportionate increase in pressure and frustration. Yet the challenges to be met in education are of concern to all Irish people. It is as a society that we must face these challenges and set our goals for the future.
It is in a spirit of collective responsibility that we must provide the means to enable our young people to avail of all the opportunities of life in the 21st century. As these Bills indicate, the need for change and for review in education is ongoing, and must be a feature of education at all times. Education must evolve, it must be responsive to new demands and new needs. Its structures must be flexible enough to respond quickly where new needs are identified. These Bills are, in fact, a response to these needs.
For the most part they are a positive step forward in the development of third level education in that they allow the colleges a far greater degree of autonomy in their own affairs than they enjoy at present. They enable them to be more responsive to the needs of the regions in which they are located and in which they were designed to serve.
I ask the Minister to give serious and balanced consideration to the amendments that will be tabled by the Fine Gael Party. In the final analysis, with the benefit of all our combined wisdom, we will hopefully have in each case a Bill  that will do what is best for the advancement of the education that is being provided for all our people.
Mr. O'Shea: The spirit in which the Minister introduced the Bills was refreshing. The Minister has set herself objectives which I believe are not fully catered for and I will be suggesting changes to both Bills, the Regional Technical Colleges Bill, 1991, and the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill, 1991, which would enable the two fundamental objectives of the Bills to be achieved, that is, to give greater autonomy to the colleges and to allow them to become involved in research and development and consultancy work in the business and commercial area.
I have a reservation about the timing of the introduction of these Bills. I understand from the Programme for Government that the long awaited education Green Paper is to be published before Christmas and I feel it is a pity that the Bills could not have been held over until the national debate on the Green Paper would have taken place. The Minister the week before last told us in this House that she was not greatly concerned about the time required for the consultative process provided it was effective. That worries me. While I accept that full and frank consultations with all parties, not alone the vested interests but the community at large, is required, I would not like to see it going on and on because it is important that an education Act be put in place. The Green Paper would have given us an opportunity to consider the whole area of third level education.
It is fair to say that in the allocation of resources the major part of new resources had been moving in the direction of the universities. The debate on the Green Paper would give the public at large opportunities to comment favourably on the regional technical colleges and their role in the regions and I believe that one of the strong recommendations would be for better resourcing of these colleges. I do not doubt the Minister's intentions, but in all sincerity I must say that the  effect of the Bills could be a copper-fastening of control of the Regional Technical College and Dublin Institute of Technology colleges by the Department.
The fact that this debate will not have taken place before these Bills are enacted is regrettable from a number of view-points. First, we have not had the opportunity to discuss the philosophy of education, which would give the community an opportunity to state the values which underpin our society — tolerance, compassion, honesty and integrity and so on. I fear the direction the Departmnet will take over a period — I am not referring to the Minister of the day, but to the ongoing direction.
Mrs. O'Rourke: Which Bill is the Deputy talking about?
Mr. O'Shea: Both Bills. The legislation will be in place and I believe, in keeping with the demographic and resourcing trends, the tendency will be that degree level third level courses will move to the universities. For example, section 7 (5) allows the Minister by way of letter to instruct the governing body to cease providing specific courses or services. My essential fear is that if, for instance, a regional college and a university both provided a similar degree course and the numbers attending the university course were in decline because of demographic trends, the Department would want the course to continue in the university as distinct from in the regional college.
That takes us into the whole area of the quality of education. I submit that if the colleges were moved back basically towards the technician area, the liberal aspect of education could be lost in that milieu. That is a point I have made often in this House and it is a point with which the Minister herself agrees, I know. Education is about the development of the individual to the fullness of his or her potential. That is the first and foremost educational objective; responding to the demands of the marketplace is not what it is all at. My gravest concern in relation to the Regional Technical Colleges Bill in particular is that the activity of regional  colleges will be curtailed over a period because of resourcing and because of demographic trends. I shall deal with the whole issue of what I consider to be centralisation later on in my contribution.
I am glad to say that there has been much representation on these Bills, they have excited a great deal of interest. I have received quite a lot of representation on what is perceived to be a diminished role for vocational education committees. A very strong case has been made to me about accountability. At the end of the day, who in fact is the responsible accounting officer for regional technical colleges? The local government auditor is now departing the scene and the Comproller and Auditor General comes on board; but from my own reading of the Bill there appears to be a certain vagueness in that regard. That is an issue that I shall address in more detail on Committee Stage. In general the vocational education committees are the only permanent education structure throughout the country. I believe that structures will come in for a great deal of attention in the debate on the Green Paper. I am sure that it is the Minister's own desire and intention that structures will evolve which can be included in the White Paper and, finally, in the Bill.
The two Bills provide for the transfer of staff from vocational education committees to regional technical colleges, whereas it is my view that subsequent to the passage of an education Act the role of vocational education committees will range over a much wider area. Without reiterating a point I made recently during the debate on the Fine Gael Private Members' Bill, they will need, for instance, to deal with the growing discipline problem at first and second levels in the conext of the family. I was seeking the appointment of a school officer to each vocational education committee area. Children who were problematic or, to use the term loosely, emotionally disturbed would be referred to the school welfare officer at an early age and the officer would deal with the problem in the context of the family, co-ordinating the voluntary and statutory agencies.  Discipline should not be examined solely in terms of the schools and in terms of sanctions. The problem rests in the first instance with the family. Many families need a great deal of support. We need to support families and help their education because in some instances budgeting and management skills are very deficient although the family income may be quite adequate. I know of a programme run by the vocational education committee that provided people with advice on budgeting in relation to the family diet. That programme helped a small number of people, but it proved very successful. That is an activity that I would like to see expanded.
The point I wish to make here is that the role of vocational education committees is open for expansion. Such expansion will be made more clear in the debate on the Green Paper, the White Paper and the subsequent introduction of legislation to the House.
I wish to refer back to what I consider to be a tendency towards centralisation evident in both of these Bills. I remain very concerned about that. The Bills are similar, yet they are completely dissimilar when considered in their totality. I refer specifically to section 5 of both Bills, section 5 being the provision that deals with the functions of colleges. The Bills are the same except for section 5 (1) (b) of the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill, which confers as a function of that college the wherewithal to confer, grant or give diplomas, certificates or other educational awards, other than degree awards. The nature of Dublin Institute of Technology will be different from the nature of regional colleges, which is, in fact, the position at the moment. I know that the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee and the Dublin Institute of Technology would want the awarding of degrees to be included in that section and to have the last phrase deleted. I understood the Minister to say in her speech that there may be another way to meet that contingency. I suggest that that could possibly be section 5 (2) (a), which seems to give enabling powers. I have to ask the Minister why there must  be a difference. In her reply I should like her to say why she does not consider it appropriate for regional technical colleges to confer, grant or give diplomas, certificates or other educational awards. Indeed, as one who supports the desire of the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee to have the conferring of degrees added to that provision, I ask why that is not possible for regional technical colleges also.
In fairness, I have to make a distinction in that regard, and I shall become a little parochial at this stage. All of the regional technical colleges are not similar in terms of their development and the areas into which they have developed. Without making comparisons between colleges, because that would be invidious, I would say in all sincerity that I believe that the most successful of all of the colleges has been the Waterford college.
Mrs. T. Ahearn: How strange?
Mrs. O'Rourke: What about Athlone?
Mr. O'Shea: I will discuss that with the Minister privately later, but I would say that in her heart of hearts she agrees with me. The college in Waterford at present has 46 per cent of its students pursuing degree level courses. Waterford city is one of the five county boroughs. Dublin city has four universities if the university at Maynoth is included and its Dublin Institute of Technology sector is now being given a function way beyond what is available to regional colleges, in particular the regional college at Waterford. The Minister indicated in her speech that that subsection would go through in its present form but that she had the wherewithal to allow the conferring of degrees later on. Of the five county boroughs Dublin has, as I have said, four universities and a Dublin Institute of Technology sector that has conferring rights way above those of the regional technical colleges sector. Dublin, Cork, Limerick have their universities and regional technical colleges as well. Waterford Regional Technical College have not  alone demonstrated their desire to become involved in the degree conferring area but have made substantial progress in that direction. Not unlike what is being sought by Cork Regional Technical College vis-à-vis their problem in relation to the College of Music and Crawford College of Art and Design, their desire to retain those colleges as institutions with their individuality and independence, there could be provision in this Bill to allow colleges, such as Waterford, to expand in the direction of degree-conferring or the provision of degrees. I would not like to see that happen at the cost of the basic mandate of the technical or professional areas which have been the real success story in education over the past two decades.
That provision by the regional technical colleges has done an enormous amount to develop our industry and people in terms of their skills. We have witnessed circumstances in which the expertise of people in the service sector of some of our semi-State bodies, who have benefited from training in the regional technical colleges, is sought overseas and a great deal of money has been paid for that expertise. That is one aspect only of the enormous development there has been among our work-force generally on account of the existence of these colleges.
When replying, or perhaps in terms of amendment on Committee Stage, I would ask the Minister to investigate the possibility of allowing the Waterford college and any other colleges aspiring in that direction, degree-conferring status. If Waterford college is not catered for under the provisions of this Bill, if there is no provision made for Waterford Regional Technical College to expand into the realm of the provision of degrees it will fail to fulfil its real purpose. Waterford and the whole south-eastern region is seriously disadvantaged in terms of the numbers of people who avail of third-level education in the higher education authority and in the degree-conferring sector.
I have some relevant statistics here in  which Deputy Cullimore will be interested also showing that, within the south-eastern counties of Wexford, Kilkenny and Waterford there is the lowest participation rate. For example, Wexford has a 7.5 per cent participation rate; Kilkenny 8.0 per cent, Waterford city and county 8.4 per cent, against the national average of 12 per cent.
Mrs. O'Rourke: Is that Clancy?
Mr. O'Shea: It is based on the cohort for 1988. It is probably Clancy but is in another form here. Nonetheless the figures are just as accurate.
Mr. Browne: (Wexford): It might be a case of moving the regional technical college to Wexford.
Mr. O'Shea: I would say to Deputy Browne that would be physically impossible. On the other hand, Wexford in terms of its aspirations for a regional technical college——
Mrs. O'Rourke: Are the statistics the Deputy quoted in relation to the higher education authority sector?
Mr. O'Shea: Yes, they related to the higher education authority sector.
Mrs. O'Rourke: That is a different matter.
Mr. O'Shea: No, certainly it is not a different matter because there is a high participation rate in the south-east in terms of certificates and diplomas but the deficiency exists at the degree level.
Mrs. T. Ahearn: What will happen when we get our college in Tipperary?
Acting Chairman (Mr. Doyle): I would remind Members that we cannot have a Committee Stage debate now.
Mr. O'Shea: Without inviting interruptions I am sure that the college when it arrives in Tipperary will be a resounding  success. The problem is that, in the south-east region, the service sector is very weak. Whereas we are talking about education we cannot do so in isolation because people who obtain degrees tend to remain in the area within which they have graduated. There has been quite an outflow of people with degrees from the south-eastern region, from Waterford in particular — which is my main concern as I represent that constituency — resulting in the overall service sector in Waterford being quite weak and of grave concern to us in terms of economic development.
I believe that the debate on the Green Paper must focus on overall economic development because we are talking about using massive resources in our terms, how they will be allocated, how much will be provided in different areas which is vitally important.
In the context of what I have been saying about making special provision for Waterford, I understand that there will be a submission to the Minister today from the City of Waterford Vocational Education Committee along the lines on which I have been talking. I would ask her to consider that submission seriously and sympathetically.
Mrs. O'Rourke: The Deputy has advance knowledge of it; good for him.
Mr. O'Shea: I am sure that will not in any way influence the Minister's objective, sympathetic consideration. The principal point to be made about the provisions of section 5, to which I alluded earlier, is that all its subsections, with one exception, begin with the words “subject to such conditions as the Minister may determine,”.
What worries me about this — and I do not make this comment for the benefit of the present Minister only but also for any of her successors — is that we are being asked here to take a pig in a poke, so to speak. We do not know what will be the nature of the regulations when statutory instruments are put in place to give effect to the provisions of this section. That worries me enormously  because it is an enabling section and its provisions are not spelled out specifically.
I might deal now with another area which concerns me a lot, that of research and development. I totally support the Minister in what she is endeavouring to achieve. Whereas these sections allow the colleges to become involved in research and development, subject to conditions to be laid down, indeed become involved at the level of limited liability companies, my first concern would be this: suppose something goes wrong with a given project, who will be responsible? Who will be the loser? For example, if profits are made on a particular consultancy or project who will benefit in a monetary sense therefrom? Will it be the college? Will it be the staff? Indeed, in some instances, could it be the Department? For instance, if research and development work is undertaken on behalf of companies could it happen that State moneys could constitute a further subsidy to industry, that is money provided by this House for educational purposes only? In some fashion or other could that money end up being of benefit to a particular private concern, money that would have been provided for educational purposes only?
Then here is the whole question of patents. I have no doubt, with the skill and expertise available within the regional technical college, Dublin Institute of Technology sector, that considerable valuable research and consultancy work will be undertaken. But suppose a new area is defined, whether it be a product or, whatever, which has a commercial value, the question of patents will need to be addressed.
My reservations about section 5 are considerable. But they would be allayed to a great extent if the Minister, when replying or as we progress through Committee Stage, could inform us exactly what is intended, exactly what will happen in terms of the implementation of the various subsections relating to functions of colleges. That is the crucial area. Whereas the Bill seeks to give greater autonomy to the colleges, it does  not do so and we do no know what may be involved.
The point has been made by trade union sources that the academic council should be democratically elected. According to the format in the Bill, the governing body of the college will appoint the council. It has been represented to me that a significant proportion of the council should be elected by their colleagues. This is a view with which I concur since it is consistent with the concept of worker participation and the exercise of democracy at the basic levels of society and its institutions.
The question arises as to whether graduates of regional technical colleges should be allowed to vote in Seanad elections. Of the six seats, three are reserved for Trinity and three for the National University of Ireland. It is discriminatory that people who have graduated from third level colleges and who can command respect for their qualifications and competence all over the world are not considered appropriate electors in Seanad elections. It is time to address that question.
The question of centralisation and the ambiguity of section 5 are of most concern to me. I should like also to know why it is not considered appropriate to appoint representatives of the vocational education committee to the college council. Then there is the whole question of accountability. The colleges must be allowed to develop by being permitted to confer degrees. This Bill will do a major disservice to the whole south east region if provision is not made for Waterford to develop to university status, the lack of which has kept Waterford from developing to the full, both academically and in the economic area. Any legislation which can contribute to reducing the unemployment problem must be used to that effect. We must think in terms of jobs in all our deliberations. We have drifted away from that since the resumption of the session. The problem of unemployment will not go away and the Minister for Education has a duty to take all possible action to remedy it. The  development of a service sector in Waterford would provide initial jobs and then create spin-off jobs in the commercial sector. This would help areas in the south east like Deputy Cullimore's constituency where there is a very high level of unemployment. There is an absence of regional planning in terms of industrial and services sector development. This Bill deals with regions but it is not expansive enough to deal with the lack of infrastructural facilities.
I look forward to the Minister's response to the submission by the City of Waterford Regional Technical College. I compliment her on the spirit in which she has brought these Bills before the House and on her willingness to accept amendments if she is convinced that they will improve the Bill.
Tomás Mac Giolla: I agree with much of what Deputy O'Shea has said, particularly his opening remark regarding the Green Paper. It is a pity the Minister has postponed the issue of that document until after these Bills have been put through. I would very much like to know her overall view of the vocational sector.
With the rapid growth of the regional technical colleges and the six colleges of the Dublin Institute of Technology over the years, there has been a growing recognition of the need to put them on a statutory basis and to give them greater autonomy and academic freedom. It was felt by people on vocational education committees and local authorities that this should be done, while at the same time retaining and even increasing their democratic base and their public accountability. References by the Minister seemed to indicate that this would be so. However, the Bills are disappointing with regard to democracy and public accountability. Far from opening up the colleges and giving them free rein to develop and grow with full academic freedom, they are being tied firmly to the apron strings of the Department of Education. The colleges will have less academic freedom, possibly less than some second level schools. Certainly, they will have less flexibility and freedom than the  vocational education committee second level colleges, many of which are growing at a very rapid rate and moving into the post leaving certificate area from which the regional technical colleges began. The colleges will lose their democratic base and their public accountability under this Bill.
In a press release dated 18 June last announcing the launch of these Bills, the Minister said that the 1967 report of the Steering Committee on Technical Education formed the basis for the establishment between 1970 and 1977 of the present network of regional technical colleges: She correctly went on to say that when the concept of the regional technical colleges was first announced it was in the context mainly of the provision of post-compulsory technical education and it was envisaged that courses for technical leaving certificate, apprentice training and technician training would be provided. That is precisely what the Steering Committee on Technical Education were all about. They were opposed from the very beginning to the establishment of the regional technical colleges under the aegis of the Vocational Education Committee sector. The pressure for centralised control of these colleges has existed from the very beginning. They put down this narrow restrictive base for regional technical colleges when they were formed. To their credit, all the vocational education committees totally ignored these restrictive conditions and limitations imposed on them by the Department of Education and instead provided the necessary dynamic which enabled the regional technical colleges to grow over the past few years.
The Minister in her speech said that since that time the situation has evolved to the extent that the courses run in the colleges are now mainly third level certificate and diploma, with some degree courses. She also said that the number of students in third level courses had grown dramatically. She said that “the situation has evolved”. Who has evolved the situation? It is a pity the Minister will not  admit that the vocational education committees——
Mrs. O'Rourke: And the colleges.
Tomás Mac Giolla: The vocational education committees through the colleges evolved the situation. It was not evolved by the Department or because of the 1967 report of the steering committee.
The Minister also made the point in the press release of 18 June that the changed nature of the activities of these institutions over the years — again she did not say who changed the nature of the activities of the institutions; the community democratic base of the colleges changed the nature of these activities — has led to concern about the limitations placed on them in having to operate under the 1930 Vocational Education Act. This concern probably arose in the Department of Education. She also referrred to the 1987 International Study Group on Technological Education as being concerned about this. The international study group of 1987 were very restrictive in their view about the development of regional technical colleges and the Dublin Institute of Technology vis-à-vis universities. They recommended that regional technical colleges should be confined to certificate and diploma courses and should not be allowed to run degree courses. They also recommended that the research carried out in regional technical colleges should be confined to problem solving and they should not move into the major area of research carried out in uiversities. The international study group seemed to want to ensure that vocational sector colleges would never become a threat to universities but would remain as feeder institutions or workshops for universities.
I do not know if the Minister has been influenced by these reports, but the Department of Education have certainly been influenced by them. The section of that report dealing with vocational sector colleges alleges indecision and excessive bureaucratic control in the vocational  sector. They give no basis for this statement — apparently they took it directly from a report issued by the National Board for Science and Technology some years previously. That has become the influencing factor for changing the nature of the colleges and keeping them away from this indecision and excessive bureaucratic control of the vocational sector. I find this amazing in view of the fact that these Bills propose exchanging the so-called bureaucratic control of the vocational sector for the far more excessive bureaucratic control of the Department of Education and the Minister.
Mrs. O'Rourke: The Deputy is quoting from a high level report, not from my speech.
Tomás Mac Giolla: In her speech the Minister referred to the importance of the International Study Group on Technological Education who recommended the introduction of the statutory provisions contained in these Bills.
Mrs. O'Rourke: Keep your cool.
Tomás Mac Giolla: It appears from the Minister's speech on 18 June launching these two Bills, that the recommendations of the International Study Group on Technological Education form the basis for the statutory provisions contained in the Bill.
Mrs. O'Rourke: If the Deputy was here the other night when I made my speech he would know that I said I have already——
Tomás Mac Giolla: I am quoting from what the Minister said on 18 June last.
Acting Chairman: Please, Minister, Deputy Mac Giolla has only one opportunity of speaking on the Bill. You will have the opportunity to reply. I would ask you to allow Deputy Mac Giolla to proceed without further interruption.
Mrs. O'Rourke: Sorry.
Tomás Mac Giolla: If the Minister wants to say that what she said on 18 June was wrong and that she has revamped the proposals that is all right——
Mrs. O'Rourke: Did the Deputy read my speech?
Tomás Mac Giolla: I am quoting from what the Minister said on 18 June.
Mrs. O'Rourke: The Deputy is not quoting from what I said in my speech the other night.
Tomás Mac Giolla: Will the Minister tell me which speech is correct? If they are all different how can I know which one is correct?
Acting Chairman: Order, please.
Tomás Mac Giolla: I am quoting from what the Minister said in her speech on 18 June. The fact that she may not have mentioned it since may mean she has changed her mind in that regard.
Mrs. O'Rourke: The Workers Party are highly selective in what they choose, that is their speciality.
Tomás Mac Giolla: I would be delighted to hear that the Minister has changed her mind about the report of the International Study Group on Technological Education. That report is very restrictive and the provisions of these Bills, which are also very restrictive, seem to derive from that report. The Minister has still retained the restriction which confines regional technical colleges——
Mrs. O'Rourke: This is an example of the highly selective tactics used by The Workers' Party.
Acting Chairman: The Minister should let the Deputy speak without further interruption. She was not interrupted when she was speaking.
Tomás Mac Giolla: ——to running certificate and diploma courses. I wonder if the research carried out by regional technical colleges will be confined to the type of research the International Study Group on Technological Education before such colleges should be involved in. That is why I mention these factors. I am concerned at the Department's attitude to regional technical colleges and the Dublin Institute of Technology from the beginning and the way in which these Bills will put more restrictions on them and bring them more firmly under the control of the Minister and her Department.
I should like to quote from a speech given by Mr. Seán Conway, President of the IVEA, at a conference on 19 October last. He said:
We take great pride in what the colleges have achieved against the odds. Compared to other sectors of higher education they have been discriminated against in an appalling manner. The cost implication of funding Vocational Education Committee colleges on a par with universities is presumably the reason the Bills don't opt for HEA designation.
The funding of Vocational Education Committee colleges is much cheaper compared to the funding of universities.
Bills or not, the funding difficulty will not go away and will have to be addressed by the Minister. In terms of priorities, I would have thought that resourcing would be the most urgent.
That is a point of major importance. Those who prepared the Bills, officials in the colleges, in the vocational education committees and on governing bodies know that unless there is adequate funding all the legislation in the world will not make the slightest difference. In fact, the effect could be to reduce the capacity of the colleges to expand and develop. I should like to quote the IVEA's view expressed in June when the Bills were published. They said:
Vocational Education Committees  are responsible for creating the conditions that led to the unprecedented success of the regional technical colleges and the Dublin Institute of Technology. We recognise, however, that due to their outstanding success under vocational education committees certain changes are desirable. For this reason the IVEA has stated repeatedly that it favours more autonomy for college governing bodies under the aegis of Vocational Education Committees. We have actively campaigned for that objective and for regularising the arrangements for research and consultancy.
They eagerly awaited the Bills and were very disappointed when they were published as no doubt the Minister has learned from their representatives. My interest, knowledge and expertise in this area is mainly in the Dublin Institute of Technology and the six colleges in Dublin and I will confine my remaining remark to those colleges.
The purpose of the CD Vocational Education Committee is to ensure the continued delivery of education programmes which have regard to the obligations imposed on committees under the Vocational Education Act, 1930. They are further designed to ensure an element of continued public accountability and democratic participation in the activities of the institute for technology. The Dublin Institute of Technology is a unique institution in Irish education. This uniqueness derives from its size, type and level of its courses, range of courses, its relationship with business and industry, its involvement in research and development and, particularly, its role in increasing participation rates in third level education.
The Dublin Institute of Technology comprises six constituent third level colleges and operates under the control of the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee. It offers a wide range of programmes of post-graduate, degree, diploma, certificate and apprenticeship level and its work and awards have attained  national and international recognition by academic, professional, industrial and business institutions and by Government and trade unions.
The institute was set up by the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee in 1978 to co-ordinate the work of the six third level colleges which have a history dating back to 1887. The Dublin Institute of Technology is the largest educational institution in Ireland with a total enrolment of 24,000 students comprising 8,800 full-time students, 10,000 part-time students and over 5,000 apprenticeship and craft technician students. In the ten years since 1981 the number of full-time students has more than doubled, from a figure of 4,000 to 8,800. In 1991, 3,000 students graduated from the Dublin Institute of Technology, including 600 degree recipients.
It provides a very wide range of courses. Full-time courses are given at post-graduate, degree, professional, diploma and certificate level. There are 74 such courses, including 11 degree courses, and there are almost 9,000 full-time students. Part-time courses are provided at degree, professional, diploma and certificate level. The institute is the largest provider of part-time education in Ireland and has 10,000 students enrolled. The institute provides apprenticeship and craft technician education in the areas of engineering, catering and distribution. It is the largest provider of education in this area with an enrolment of 5,500 students. It provides 74 courses, including 11 degree courses, in the following discipline areas: architecture, building and surveying, artdesign and printing, business studies and languages, computer studies and programming, engineering, hotel catering and tourism, media studies, music, science and related fields and social studies.
Traditionally, through its part-time and short course programmes, the institute has developed a very close relationship with business and industry. More recently through its involvement in research and development, it has contributed in a very substantial way to economic development. As an example, the Dublin Institute of Technology, Kevin  Street, has recently negotiated a £350,000 contract in avionics research with TEAM Aer Lingus. The institute's range of courses, and particularly its part-time and apprenticeship courses, have been a major factor in increasing participation rates in the Dublin region. This range of courses has provided opportunities to retain potential early school leavers in education at the apprenticeship and craft level and has provided second-chance education for very large numbers of people with its part-time courses.
The Dublin Institute of Technology awards its own diplomas and certificates which have also achieved international recognition by educational, professional, employer, trade union and other organisations. Currently it has 12 degree courses validated by Trinity College which effectively means graduates of these courses receive their degree awards from Trinity College.
The Directive for architects issued by the European Commission in 1985 lists the following as one of the architectural qualifications recognised in this country: “The diploma of degree standard in architecture awarded by the College of Technology, Bolton Street, Dublin...” The only academic award available here to qualify as an optician is the diploma in opthalmic optics awarded on successful completion of the four year full-time course conducted by the College of Technology, Kevin Street. This profession is the subject of special legislation of the Oireachtas relating to Bord na Radharcmastóirí. The main qualification recognised by the Department of Health in Ireland for appointment as a health inspector or an environmental health officer is the diploma in environmental health awarded on successful completion of the four year wholetime course conducted in the Dublin College of Catering.
Article 1 of the EC Directive on qualifications issued in 1988 on a general system for the recognition of higher education diplomas awarded on completion of professional education and training of at least three years duration defines an acceptable qualification for the purposes of this Directive as follows:
“Any diploma, certificate or other evidence of formal qualifications or any set of such diplomas, certificates or other evidence: — which has been awarded by a competent authority in a Member State....”
The Dublin Institute of Technology has pioneered innovative relationships with second level schools and, in particular, with second level vocational education. These relationships have provided special oportunities in Irish education to encourage students from disadvantaged backgrounds to proceed to third level education. This is a very important factor for the Dublin Institute of Technology. We have grave doubts as to whether these Bills will allow us to pursue this and continue the relationship with our second level schools and the increasing participation rates in third level education.
All of those characteristics of the Dublin Institute of Technology mean that the institute is unique not only in terms of size, it has a unique ethos. The development of this ethos has come about because of the institute's flexibility and its responsiveness to the real educational needs of the community it serves, a responsiveness which is fundamentally bound up with the role of democratically elected representatives in the vocational education committee. It is crucial that those characteristics which contributed to the unique ethos of the Dublin Institute of Technology should remain central to the institute under the new legislation.
Third level education is the area of greatest inequality in education. Nothing makes this inequality at third level clearer than the huge differences in funding for the higher education authority sector as against the funding for the vocational sector, which is the poor relation in third level education. The Lindsay report acknowledged that the enrolment of full-time students in third level vocational education committees had increased by 16 per cent between 1986-87 and 1988-89. During this period the budgetary allocation to these colleges was reduced by nearly 10 per cent in real terms, following  two series of cuts. The Lindsay report acknowledged that the vocational education committee sector colleges had many deficiencies including the lack of non-teaching staff and support services and that their operating costs per student were at least £1,000 below those in the higher education authority sector colleges.
The only specific commitment given to third level education in the 1991 budget was the confirmation of an increased level of support for the university sector. The Minister stated that the Government would continue their policy of increasing third level intake of students by at least 1,200 again this year. Under this provision the universities are provided with an allocation of £1,000 in respect of each additional student and they are also allowed to retain their students tuition fees of £1,500 approximately per student, giving them a total additional recurring income of some £2,500 per student. They were also provided with £3 million for minor capital works as well as the sum of £350,000 in 1990 to strengthen their science technology and research capability. It was reported that in total the value of the package to the university sector was of the order of £50 million over four years.
The Minister gave some interesting quantitative data on the progress of the universities and the vocational education committee sectors between the 1986-87 and 1989-90 sessions. In real terms, the enrolment in the higher education authority sector increased by 4,073, an increase of 12.2 per cent, from 33,443 to 37,516 pupils. In the same period vocational education committee third level enrolments increased by 4,506, an increase of 23 per cent from 19,550 to 24,056. Hence, over those four years in absolute terms the increase in the vocational education committee third level sector enrolments was over 10 per cent greater than that achieved by the universities. When it came to making additional budgetary provision, all the  money was targeted to the higher education authority sector, leaving nothing for the vocational education committees.
Mrs. O'Rourke: That is not true. What about the European Regional Development Fund funds? The Deputy is being selective. It is typical Workers' Party policy.
Tomás Mac Giolla: These statistics were provided by the Minister for Education in written response to a Dáil question on 12 February 1991.
Mrs. O'Rourke: Did you ask me about European Regional Development Fund funding?
Tomás Mac Giolla: Are you disputing the figures?
Mrs. O'Rourke: You asked a selective question and got a selective answer. This is typical Workers' Party selectivity.
Tomás Mac Giolla: This was a response by the Minister on 12 February 1991 showing the huge increase in the number of students in the vocational education committee sector as compared with the increase in the higher education authority sector and the total lack of funding to cater for the increased number of students. The higher education authority sector gobbled up the lot.
Mrs. O'Rourke: The European Regional Development Fund funding was not mentioned.
Tomás Mac Giolla: There are six colleges involved in this Bill, but with regard to the College of Music, Chatham Row, there is this proviso: “in so far as pertains to such courses of study as may be deemed by the Minister to be courses of higher education”. I hope the Minister will eliminate that proviso. I will explain why. This is the very basis for flexibility of the whole vocational education committee system. The principal of the College of Music, Mr. Frank Heneghan said:
 The College of Music happily houses, without any apparent confrontation or uncomfortable juxtapositions, aspiring beginners as well as full professionals and this scenario is enshrined in current policies. The college thus provides the perfect justification for that integration of so-called apprenticeship and professional courses which the Dublin Institute of Technology espouses.
There are 2,500 in the college which has 125 teachers, which is 86 full-time equivalents. Pupils are admitted from the age of five upwards. The average age in the College of Music is 15, yet 40 per cent to 45 per cent of the work of the college is third level, that is, post-leaving certificate level. This Bill will be very restrictive rather than progressive. Under the Minister's restrictive conditions in this Bill Mozart would not qualify for——
Mrs. O'Rourke: You would not call a five-year-old a third level student.
Tomás Mac Giolla: Will the Minister allow me to complete what I am saying? Mozart would not qualify for third level education in the College of Music in Chatham Row.
Mrs. O'Rourke: One could hardly call a five-year-old a third level student.
Tomás Mac Giolla: Would the Minister allow me to finish and then she can go on and talk about her five-year-olds or babies, or whatever she likes. If the Minister allows me to finish the argument she will see that she is the one who is not allowing the State schools to develop music for five-year-olds upwards and that that is why the College of Music has to provide music education for them. The Minister has totally neglected her responsibility in the area of music in the State schools throughout the country.
Mrs. O'Rourke: Selective Workers' Party policy.
Tomás Mac Giolla: I will quote again from a booklet produced by the principal  of the College of Music, “Dublin Institute of Technology Legislation and the College of Music”:
Unlike many third-level subjects it cannot be taught ab initio from a school-leaving age, due to the quasiathletic skills required. It is, therefore, quite normal, particularly in the case of gifted children, to demand the development of superior instrumental skills at a very early age; In fact it is a síne qua non for subsequent professional success. Note that the correlation of age and rudimentary training in any subject is, in any case, a vulnerable criterion in defining third level education (compare, e.g., language classes or classes in new technology, at basic level, in polytechnics and universities) ... The existence of a primary and second-level component in the College is not only a direct result of the non-provision of instrumental music education in schools——
Minister, it is a result of the non-provision of instrumental music education in schools run by you, Minister. This is reported in a book entitled “Deaf Ears”, which got wide coverage a couple of years back, and can hardly be blamed on the college of music.
It is also an essential element in the process of self-generation. Without a junior school the College would currently be starved of its supply of senior students.
That is an important point, Minister. Without a junior school the college would currently be starved of its supply of senior students because they are not coming through the normal State education system that they should be coming through. Therefore, the college of music must have its junior school, coming through to the senior
This is the single most significant and disturbing characteristic of the Irish music education system which must be faced. The supply of suitable third-level applicants should, ideally, come mainly from state schools.
 Unfortunately that is not happening.
Over the past twelve years the College has developed a musicianship (awareness, literacy, appreciation) programme which would be adaptable to school use, should the situation improve....
In other words, should the Minister develop music teaching in schools, the college of music has a course specially adapted for that purpose.
It is also producing secondary school teachers with instrumental skills.
The Dublin College of Music is producing the teachers and, as the principal says:
The college has already, therefore, prepared for its own partial expendability at the lower levels of music training.
However, that has not happened yet, so it still requires its junior school which is absolutely essential. The principle also says:
It should be noted, however, that all the main conservatories (academies and colleges) in Britain, (R.A.M., R.C.M., Royal Northern, Royal Glasgow and Birmingham) have junior schools, without adversely affecting their predominently third-level operation; in fact it is quite the contrary. It should also be noted particularly that Dublin Institute of Technology has a very large second-level education scheme within its apprenticeship sector.
I would ask the Minister again, in putting forward an amendment, to eliminate that piece in brackets and, when listing the colleges simply to put down “College of Music, Chatham Row”. that is all it would require. You do not have to say anything or do anything about the junior element, about five year olds or 45 year olds or 70 year olds, and there are 70 year olds in the College of Music.
Mrs. O'Rourke: It is you who are mentioning them.
Tomás Mac Giolla: You do not even have to think about the ages. All you have to do is just put down “College of Music, Chatham Row”——
Mrs. O'Rourke: How simple life would be.
Tomás Mac Giolla: ——and allow the flexibility without these departmental restrictions where everything is tied up with age limits and God only knows what other limits. That is what I fear about all the regional technical colleges, the Department's attitudes and restrictions and limitations and that is just the proof of it——
Mrs. O'Rourke: Have you not a thought of your own?
Tomás Mac Giolla: They want to decide on an age. If it is not five, what is the age? What age must you be to be regarded as third level by the Minister, since the Minister is going to decide whether you are third level or not?
Mrs. O'Rourke: Have you any thought of your own?
Tomás Mac Giolla: Have you an age at which you decide they will be third level?
Mrs. O'Rourke: Have you any thoughts of your own?
Tomás Mac Giolla: You agree that it is not five year olds, do you not?
Mrs. O'Rourke: I do, of course.
Tomás Mac Giolla: What age have you in mind?
Mrs. O'Rourke: I have never heard of a five year old as a third level student.
Tomás Mac Giolla: Have you got any age in mind, Minister? Is it 25?
Mrs. O'Rourke: It is not five.
Tomás Mac Giolla: It is not. Is it 25, or is it 15?
Mrs. O'Rourke: It is certainly not five.
Tomás Mac Giolla: Is it 15?
Mrs. O'Rourke: It is not five.
Tomás Mac Giolla: You have no idea, Minister. Would you make up your mind because when you are dealing with this college——
Mrs. O'Rourke: The only ideas you have are what you have been fed.
Tomás Mac Giolla: When you refuse to give a musical education to the five year olds——
Mrs. O'Rourke: Fed, fed, fed.
Tomás Mac Giolla: ——and you are now trying to prevent the college of music from doing that——
Mrs. O'Rourke: No, but you are.
Tomás Mac Giolla: ——and from having the one college where they decide what age is third level——
Mrs. O'Rourke: You are trying to limit the college of music.
Tomás Mac Giolla: You are going to put restrictions on third level because you have not even thought this out at all, Minister.
Mrs. O'Rourke: You are trying to limit the college of music.
Acting Chairman (Mr. Hilliard): Minister and Deputy, may I speak?
Tomás Mac Giolla: May I speak?
Acting Chairman: I would ask the Deputy to address his remarks to the Chair.
Tomás Mac Giolla: What about the Minister?
Acting Chairman: I would ask the Deputy, as it is normal practice, to address his remarks to the Chair.
Tomás Mac Giolla: I am very disappointed, Chairman. I have been speaking and the Minister started to interrupt me; now you are telling me that I am wrong. Have you the guts to turn around and tell the Minister to keep her mouth shut——
Mrs. O'Rourke: He would not be so rude.
Tomás Mac Giolla: ——and she will have a second chance to come in when I am finished.
Acting Chairman: Could I ask the Deputy to please continue his remarks through the Chair.
Tomás Mac Giolla: I am speaking to the Chair. Could you ask the Minister to keep silent while I am speaking and wait until she has her chance to come back in and make whatever remarks she can?
Acting Chairman: I think the Deputy is encouraging the Minister to interrupt.
Mr. Doyle: It is not very difficult.
Tomás Mac Giolla: I am not encouraging anybody.
Acting Chairman: I would ask the Deputy to please continue and address his remarks through the Chair.
Tomás Mac Giolla: I would ask the Chair to be impartial as you are expected to be when you are sitting in that chair.
Acting Chairman: I am asking the Deputy to continue with his remarks through the Chair.
Tomás Mac Giolla: I will continue with my debate through the Chair but I would  expect that you would have every other Deputy in the House doing it as well and that you will have nobody shouting at me. I expect that you will do that.
Mrs. O'Rourke: You are to shout at me but I am not to shout back? Well, did you ever?
Tomás Mac Giolla: I, Chairperson, have been speaking; I was not shouting at anybody.
Mrs. O'Rourke: Indeed you were.
Tomás Mac Giolla: I was speaking here. The Minister interrupted me.
Mrs. O'Rourke: Oh dear, dear.
Tomás Mac Giolla: You then proceeded to bawl me off, Chairman.
Mrs. O'Rourke: Typical WP. You can say what you like but we cannot hit back.
Tomás Mac Giolla: For God sake, Minister, you will have your second chance when it is finished. You are very upset this morning. I do not know what it is about you but——
Acting Chairman: I again appeal to the Deputy to refrain from making remarks——
Mrs. O'Rourke: Deputy Mac Giolla, you are very upset, are you not?
Acting Chairman: I appeal to the Deputy to continue. I am speaking to the Deputy——
Tomás Mac Giolla: And I am speaking to the Chair.
Acting Chairman: I am entitled to speak without interruptions, if I may.
Tomás Mac Giolla: You are entitled to speak without interruptions.
Acting Chairman: When I am standing, the courtesy of Deputies in this House means they should cease speaking. I am here and I am trying to Chair the debate as best I can. I am not normally in the Chair. I find that the Deputy is encouraging the Minister to interrupt and I am asking the Deputy to make his remarks through the Chair and not directly to the Minister.
Tomás Mac Giolla: Mr. Chairman, at this stage one does not know where to go to look for redress. I am speaking to you and I expect that if the Minister interrupts that you will ask the Minister also to speak through the Chair. Will you do that, please, Chairperson? It would make everything very nice and pleasant.
As I said, I am concerned about the restriction on the college of music, particularly in view of the fact that the Minister has evaded her responsibility to provide musical education in the State schools throughout the country so there are then no feeder schools from junior schools around the country into the college of music. Therefore, the college of music must provide its own junior level and must have flexibility in deciding ages and structures and everything else in the college in regard to who is and is not ready for third level without restrictions from the Minister or her Department. No restriction should be put on the college of music in that area, as seems to be the intention of this Bill. The Minister, it seems, is to decide who and at what age a person is qualified to be regarded as third level in the college of music.
That brings us to the question of apprenticeships which is not mentioned in the Bill. As I have informed the House, 5,500 students attend apprenticeship courses in the craft and technician area in the Dublin Institute of Technology, yet the Minister listed the six colleges without once mentioning apprenticeships. May I ask the Minister what she has in mind with regard to apprenticeships in the Dublin Institute of Technology? Apprenticeship courses  have been provided in the Institute since it was founded. These provide vital education to apprentices and the possibility to go on to do craft and technician courses, including engineering if necessary in third level colleges. As a result they have been of enormous help in increasing the participation rates of working class children in third level education.
The most vital element of the Dublin Institute of Technology is the connection between second level schools and third level colleges and apprenticeships. Yet the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill has been produced by a Minister who does not seem to know that 5,500 apprentices are being catered for by the institute. She has given them no recognition, good, bad or indifferent. She has not mentioned that they exist or what is to be done with them.
Mrs. O'Rourke: They are there.
Tomás Mac Giolla: Do they count in the education system? They are only little apprentices and technicians. They are not in higher orders of the HEA sector. What does the future hold for them?
Mr. Doyle: It might be with FÁS.
Tomás Mac Giolla: That is the question, Deputy. Is that what the Minister has in mind? I happen to be a member of the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee——
Mrs. O'Rourke: I would never have guessed.
Tomás Mac Giolla: ——and of the board of management of Bolton Street College and neither of those committees have heard anything about what will happen in the apprenticeships area. A national apprenticeship committee has been set up without the CD Vocational Education Committee or Bolton Street being consulted. We hear everything secondhand and wonder what the national apprenticeship committee are going to do. Is it intended that the Department of  Labour will take over responsibility for the apprenticeship sector from the Minister for Education? I would like the Minister for Education to tell me if she has any interest in apprenticeships and if she would be satisfied to see the Department of Labour take over responsibility for apprenticeships, leaving the educational aspects out.
Is it now our view of apprentices that they should become skilled in trades, take up a job and remain stuck in it for the rest of their lives in some blind alley with no possibility of advancement? Are they to go through a two year FÁS course in blocklaying or woodwork with no education being provided or no possibility of advancement to craft technician, engineering or any other third level course? That is what the Dublin Institute of Technology under the CD Vocational Education Committee provide for apprentices at present. It is time that apprentices and many other people woke up to what happens. Even we do not know what is happening, but the Minister does. If she has any interest in apprentices she will know that they are to be taken out of the education system and transferred to the FÁS training system, which has nothing at all to do with education and the development of the person which forms part of apprenticeship training at present. This will prove destructive in terms of growth and development in the apprenticeships area where the possibility of third level education can be provided for young people who take up apprenticeships. The Minister will be very lacking if she does not take a look at what the Minister for Labour is doing at present.
Mrs. O'Rourke: I had better watch him.
Tomás Mac Giolla: He is possibly attempting to grab it from the Department of Education and we have not heard a squeak from the Minister for Education.
Mrs. O'Rourke: Not true.
Tomás Mac Giolla: We have not heard a word from the Minister for Education on apprenticeships during the past few years while the Minister for Labour——
Mrs. O'Rourke: Not true.
Acting Chairman: The Deputy is encouraging the Minister to interrupt.
Tomás Mac Giolla: I am stating a fact.
Mrs. O'Rourke: It is not a fact, it is not true.
Tomás Mac Giolla: I am stating it as a fact that I have never heard a squeak from the Minister for Education on apprenticeships——
Mrs. O'Rourke: Not true.
Tomás Mac Giolla: ——and I have been involved with the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee since I became a Member of this House.
Mrs. O'Rourke: I have never met the Deputy at any of the events organised for apprentices.
Tomás Mac Giolla: Developments are taking place very rapidly in the apprenticeship area; yet, the Minister has not mentioned them in the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill. That is a source of worry for me.
Mrs. O'Rourke: The Deputy has no interest in them
Tomás Mac Giolla: I have to state in the House that I am very worried about what is happening in the apprenticeship area.
Mrs. O'Rourke: The Deputy has no interest in them.
Tomás Mac Giolla: The Dublin Institute of Technology deals with 5,500 apprentices; yet the Minister has not one word to say about them.
Mrs. O'Rourke: The Deputy has no interest in them.
Tomás Mac Giolla: Apparently, the Minister for Labour has had a plan to place them with FÁS for the past couple of years. I do not know if the Minister knows about this or not but if she does——
Mrs. O'Rourke: The Deputy has no interest in them.
Tomás Mac Giolla: ——as I said, I have not heard a squeak out of her.
Mrs. O'Rourke: Not true. The Deputy has never turned up, not even once, at an apprenticeships award ceremony.
Tomás Mac Giolla: I have not heard a squeak out of her about whether she agrees or disagrees——
Acting Chairman: I rise to speak again even though I know I will find it difficult to get Deputies to co-operate, but I have to say that from time to time the Deputy is encouraging the Minister to reply. In the course of his address he continually asks “May I ask the Minister this or may I ask the Minister that” but he is only encouraging the Minister to reply. Having said that I appeal both to the Minister and the Deputy to allow the debate to continue without interruption.
Tomás Mac Giolla: I am glad that you have come around to my point of view at last. I have almost completed my contribution.
Mrs. O'Rourke: Good.
Tomás Mac Giolla: I would have completed it ten or 15 minutes ago but I got the adrenalin going again.
Mrs. O'Rourke: We want to keep the dabate going all day.
Tomás Mac Giolla: As I said at the outset, there is a need to increase the rate at which we are democratising education.  I stated in an article in the magazine Decision-maker my views on the Education Act, that that was the only Act we had and the vocational education sector was the only sector where everybody, community and parents, is involved. I would like to see all sectors of the education system — primary, second level and third level — democratised. I also mentioned the local education committees — the Minister will recall this proposal which seems to have been dropped — who could co-operate with and not supersede the vocational education committees. These could number six, eight or ten, be smaller than local authorities and deal with education on a regional basis. It is a matter of concern that this Bill seems to be doing the reverse in that it will remove third level colleges firmly from democratic control and public accountability. Despite the fact that the Minister has said that she wishes to retain the link with vocational education committees, I firmly believe that, without amendments, democratic control will be lost. The amendments would relate to apprenticeship education — in section 5 (1) I should like to add “including appenticeship education”. I should also like an amendment in relation to the need to confer degrees because I am not happy with the Minister's idea that a provision of this kind can be by ministerial decree. Why not now? What is the objection?
Mrs. O'Rourke: We are not on Committee Stage now.
Tomás Mac Giolla: Why should all these colleges not be given the power to confer degrees? There is an excellent arrangement in Dublin and I commend Trinity College and the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee for the arrangement. Nevertheless, it is Trinity degrees which are being conferred, not those from the Dublin Institute of Technology. I cannot see any reason for regional technical colleges not being able to confer degrees.
There is also a need to put a clause in the Bill to try to promote equality of  opportunity in education. I suggest it should be in section 7, or wherever the Minister thinks fit. There is a need, in regard to the academic council area, to have a phrase in regard to protecting, maintaining and developing academic standards. The provision in regard to Chatham Row should also be deleted. These are the main areas regarding which amendments will be tabled, and I am sure that the Minister on rereading the Bill will table substantial amendments.
Mrs. O'Rourke: The amendments will be as a result of my own thoughts.
Mr. Cullimore: I welcome these two Bills and I compliment the Minister on bringing them before the House. I do so for a number of reasons, first, the Bills mark a long overdue and realistic assessment of what used to be termed vocational education. For many years this sector seemed to exist at the fringes of educational planning because success at school was largely measured in terms of academic performance as opposed to technical and apprenticeship training, which the vocational education committee offered. Accordingly, as I remember from my own days, the former was called secondary schooling and the vocational education committee was popularly regarded as technical schooling. This was not merely semantics, because in the popular mind the two types of school also differentiated between the degrees of how people often defined success. For a long time success was tied to academic subjects and, at third level, just as at second level, the so-called technical side was for a long time treated in second class terms. However, since 1987, thanks primarily to the type of policies which are reflected in the Bill, there is neither an academic nor technical emphasis but an association of the two.
This brings me to my second reason for supporting the Bill. The days are gone when at second or third level there is a defined strategy — much less a closed definition — for educational success. I want to praise the Minister in this regard. As we move towards a new Green Paper  and Education Bill, I know that the Minister is not a prisoner of any view as to how things should proceed. I accept that she wants to promote, in the words of the Programme for Economic and Social Progress,“an educational system for the future well-being of the country as well as its role in the country's economic development”. In this regard she is proceeding with the widest possible consultation. One of the hallmarks of the Minister for Education is her ability and desire to communicate and consult the various interested parties in education.
These Bills reflect the more open sentiments which recognise the present realities as well as future potential and opportunities. In May 1989 these sentiments were also reflected in the historic Bills which the Minister introduced to grant university status to National Institute of Higher Education, Limerick and National Institute of Higher Education, Dublin. The Bills before the House today are no less significant in that they place the various functions specified in section 5 on a statutory basis.
I wish to confine the remainder of my remarks to the Regional Technical Colleges Bill. Section 5 recites a catalogue of legislative proposals and functions, but it also reflects just how far the so-called vocational sector has changed education. Since 1930 this sector has been governed by the Vocational Act of that year; but of course in 1991 the provisions of this Act, which were designed with second level education in mind, are clearly inappropriate to regional technical colleges. I know that even when I was a student in Waterford Regional College in the early seventies the old Act of the thirties was outdated.
I was particularly impressed with two points which the Minister made in her speech. She spoke of the importance of the regional technical college for encouraging local initiative, enterprise and development. She also spoke of the role of regional technical colleges in promoting part time and second chance education. I should like to refer to a point made by a Deputy from Waterford who  referred to the need to upgrade the Waterford Regional Technical College which has made a great impact on the area and indeed on the whole south-east. I should like to develop that point a little further and to talk about the Outreach courses. Not only is substantial money needed for the future development of the Waterford Regional Technical College, but we must also look at Outreach courses, particularly in counties like Wexford.
I agree with the Minister's sentiments in each of these areas because they reflect a commitment to make maximum use of local resources as well as making them available for local needs. As I mentioned, our educational system must be relevant and practical, not so much in the sense that it must be related to particular subjects or courses but in the sense that it must not exclude anything — it must be open and everything must be on the table. That is what was wrong under the old system; it excluded too much. The Bill reverses this and it brings me to a third focus: the scope which it provides for better interaction between the regional technical college on one hand and regional business and industry on the other.
Recently in this House I spoke about the need for a local approach and to involve communities in solving unemployment. For far too long we have looked at one big factory as solving the economic needs of our constituency. I hope that the regional colleges will play a major role in providing research and development assistance to communities so that they can create much needed jobs. The Bill before us is part of this process. It provides a statutory basis for all sorts of courses, full-time and part-time, and encourages and promotes research and consultancy and development work. There was a time when the number of places for such courses was very restrictive. In the mid-eighties many third-level students were forced to go to British universities or even to opt out of the system altogether because no places were available here even though these students were qualified for a third level place here.
 As the Minister indicated in Cork last Saturday, the Government have reversed this position. By providing even more third level places the proposed Bills will ensure that our well educated young people will be given every opportunity to contribute to the economic recovery of their regions. While regional technical colleges can facilitate their regions by developing their role as regional educational institutes, this role must be complemented by the development of a network of what I would call supplementary satellites or approved out-centres. These would be centres in which instruction leading to third level qualifications would be provided outside of but in association with and under the supervision of the regional college. Some of the courses would be provided within the regional technical college, thus offering access to expensive equipment, library and college facilities and so on. For the remainder of the courses postprimary school rooms which are at present under-used could be taken up.
There would be no major capital investment involved in this process. The students would be able to live at home, largely obviating the necessity of living in expensive accommodation away from home. This would be particularly helpful to students in out-lying areas. In reference to the Regional Technical College in Waterford it would be of great benefit to places such as Kilkenny, Wexford and Carlow. It would also conform with Government policy of decentralisation and would help counties on the periphery of major centres of industry. I would include Waterford as one such centre, and Wexford, being on the periphery, would benefit. It is important that this Bill address these problems and provide greater resources for outlying areas such as Wexford and Kilkenny.
In addition, there are many teachers available at local level who could participate in these courses. A weekly or fortnightly visit to institutions such as the regional technical colleges would be necessary and this could be facilitated by the regional colleges. I suggest to the Minister that such out-centres could be  set up on a pilot basis under the terms of the Regional Technical Colleges Bill. In Wexford the town and county Vocational Education Committees are anxious to provide third level places on an outcentre basis. In April of last year the Wexford committees invited Dr. Patrick Clancy, the author of Who Goes to College, to address a meeting. At that meeting there was general agreement among educationists, parents and public representatives that the most effective and least expensive way to increase participation in third level education is by way of the provision of out-centres.
As a concrete expression of the desire to do something about this, within the last month Wexford Vocational Education Committee have embarked on providing, by way of part-time tuition, a diploma in business studies in association with and under the supervision of Waterford Regional Technical College. Under this system students attend Wexford vocational school two evenings a week and on alternate Saturdays they attend Waterford Regional Technical College. The teachers who give the lectures in Wexford are from the area and are employed by the local committee, while the teachers in Waterford are employed by Waterford Regional Technical College. This joint venture is working so well that the committee in Wexford are contemplating initiating a further course in September 1992.
All this points to the potential that is hinted at in section 5 (1) (d) of the Bill. However, I would like to see the scope of such out-centres spelled out in this section. We must be more specific about what out-centres entail, the finance available and how they can be encouraged and developed. As proposed, the Bill does not give credit to all institutions as only a limited number are named in the First Schedule.
I would like to make two other brief points. The first relates to paragraph 3 of the Second Schedule which provides that membership of the governing body be confined to those under 70 years of age. I have great reservations about giving legislative effect and status to the view  that people over an identified age are not and will not be in a position to contribute to such bodies as those proposed. Whatever about one's view that people of such an age are sometimes neither inclined nor able to contribute, there are those who could make a contribution and that should be provided for. We need only recall the great contribution of Dr. Tom Murphy since his retirement as president of UCD. Dr. Murphy has chaired two important educational reviews. I would ask the Minister to delete this section with specific mention of age. It is not appropriate because many people over 70 years of age make a major contribution to the development of this country and the Minister should not put a legislative barrier between Irish education and such expertise.
Finally, I want to refer briefly to section 20 of this Bill and to the proposals to monitor “the efficiency of instruction given in the college”. This strikes me as being a very radical approach and it brings me back to what I said at the outset, that there is need to ensure that all third level colleges are accountable to their regions and their students in terms of quality and control and ultimately to the taxpayer. This Bill meets that need. It is no less historic than the Acts which have given new status to the National Institutes of Higher Education. I welcome the Bills and compliment the Minister on introducing them. I wish both Bills a speedy passage through the House.
Mr. Doyle: My main contribution will relate to the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill, 1991. In one way I am sorry the Minister has left the House but I am pleased also in that I will not be interrupted in the same way as was Deputy Mac Giolla when making his contribution. I would like to quote from a press release of 18 June 1991 in which the Minister states: “The Bills are very comprehensive and do all that is necessary to give the institutions great autonomy and freedom in the conduct of their day-to-day activities, which is in keeping  with the state of development the institutions have reached and the potential they have to contribute to our educational, technological and economic development”. The aim as expressed by the Minister in that quotation is very laudable but the product in the form of the Bill is an inept attempt to swop vocational education committee control for ministerial control and to impose unnecessary and restrictive controls on educational initiatives which have been evolving for approximately 100 years.
There are two points in particular that I wish to pursue in relation to this Bill — first, the idea of autonomy and, second, the idea of academic integrity. A number of speakers mentioned the idea of autonomy and I shall consider it now. The Minister would lead us to believe that the Bill gives greater autonomy to the Dublin Institute of Technology colleges. If this is so, why does the Minister find it necessary to mention on at least sixty-one occasions expressions of her control, with phrases like “subject to such conditions as the Minister may determine”? The Minister's finger is everywhere in the Bill. It makes one wonder if one is not looking at a hidden agenda. For example, why not allow the Dublin Institute of Technology colleges to award degrees? Why omit references to apprenticeship training as a function of the institute? Why so much ministerial and Department of Education interference in the day-to-day affairs of the institute? Why is the phrase “higher education” slipped in in relation to the College of Music? Why does the Minister impose herself on the academic council? These are very important and fundamental questions which I hope the Minister will address in her reply to Second Stage debate.
Under the Bill as it stands the governing body will not have autonomy in the following vital areas: course provision, research and consultancy and exploitation of same; co-operation with other institutions; awards, grants and scholarships; management of college assets; conditions of appointment, staff appointments and student admissions;  furthering the objectives and development of the colleges. Under the provisions of the Bill the vocational education committee lose everything apart from a few nominal items such as to act as trustee to college land presently owned by the vocational education committee and to receive annual college programmes, budget and audit.
The question must be asked: is the vocational education committee to be held responsible for the financial affairs of the institute over which it will have no control whatsoever? One must ask also why there is a change of auditor from the local government auditor to the Comptroller and Auditor General? One must question the Minister's new powers, which include the power to order a college to refrain from providing a course or courses and or service or services; to appoint the governing body; to appoint the chairperson of the governing body; to determine the functions of the governing body; to dismiss the governing body; to replace the governing body; to determine the composition of selection boards; to determine the procedure for making appointments; to dismiss staff; to determine conditions for ancillary and support staff; to make regulations regarding the operation of the college; to control the arrangements for student admissions; to determine what reports a vocational education committee may receive; to include any vocational education committee education establishment in the provisions of the Bill. Let us contrast this with the stated aim of the Minister “to give institutions greater autonomy and freedom in the conduct of their day-to-day activities ...”. The Minister will be, in effect, the director of the institute, which I understand is a full-time job.
I will now deal with my second point, namely, academic integrity. To begin with it should be made clear to one and all that the Dublin Institute of Technology have an academic council, which, by the way, is far superior to that proposed in the Bill. What is the function of an academic council? The general function  of an academic council should be to protect, maintain and develop the academic standards of the courses and activities of the institute and to promote academic development. More specifically, an academic council should determine the norms and standards for the institute; assess, review and validate the institute's courses; establish boards of studies and nominate assessors, both internal and external; make recommendations for the award of degrees; regulate examinations; appoint internal and external examiners; decide on appeals; promote research and set the requirements for student admission. The above list is not totally comprehensive but it covers all the most important functions.
It is true to say that some of the above are included in the Bill before us, but the Minister fusses about telling the governing body how to appoint the academic council, who should be a member and how long they should serve on it. Surely this is the real day-to-day work that any governing body worth its salt is perfectly capable of handling without being held by the hand. Does the Minister have the same power in relation to universities — for example, UCD or any other university? Would they stand for such ridiculous petty interference? This is what academic integrity is all about. Indeed, if that was not bad enough, the Minister imposes herself on the academic council, as in section 11 (3) (e). On top of that she fails to make any reference to internal and external examiners. One gets the impression of a singular lack of understanding of what an academic council should do.
All of this ties in with my earlier premise that the Minister fails to comprehend the evolution of the Dublin Institute of Technology colleges into what they are today. She fails to understand the way the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee responded to the social needs and aspirations of the countless thousands of Dubliners over many decades. Dublin Institute of Technology is not, nor does it want to be, as far as I understand, nor should it be another university. The institute does not cater for  higher education students only, but one suspects this is what the Minister has in mind. The institute caters for 9,000 full-time students at post graduate degree, professional and diploma levels. There are a total of 74 courses, including 12 degree courses; 10,000 part-time students — indeed, it is the largest provider of part-time education in Ireland at a variety of levels — it has 5,500 apprenticeships and craft technician students in engineering, catering and distribution areas. The institute is the largest provider of apprenticeship education — indeed, Deputy Mac Giolla referred to this. Above all, the institute has provided opportunities at third level and post secondary level for more students from disadvantaged backgrounds than any other college I know of. We should not lose sight of this most important point if we are to consider ourselves a caring society.
I have referred already to a hidden agenda. In conclusion, may I comment on the possible dangers, that may arise from a combination of these Bills, a recent innovation by the Department of Labour and a recent decision by the Minister for Education? For the reasons I have stated already I have serious reservations about the value of this Bill as it stands. The objective as stated clearly, as opposed to those hidden in the wording of the Bill could be achieved much more readily and effectively by amending section 21 of the Vocational Education Act, 1930. My greatest fear is that the Dublin Institute of Technology will in future be an academic university and that the vast number of second chance students will be left behind and forgotten. Undoubtedly, the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee, or its successor will have to start all over again and re-invent the wheel.
Recently, as Deputy Mac Giolla mentioned, the Minister for Labour through FÁS set up a national apprenticeship committee. Bearing in mind that the Dublin Institute of Technology educates 5,500 apprentices and that there is no  place on this committee for a representative of either Dublin Institute of Technology or the the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee, one can only conclude that the aim of the exercise is to switch apprentices from Dublin Institute of Technology to this new committee. This action defies logic. That, sadly, does not mean it will not happen; but it does mean that a large section of the students of the Dublin Institute of Technology not involved in higher educatin will have to go. This could yet be another step in turning Dublin Institute of Technology into an academic university. Before I leave this point may I ask the Minister for Education what she is up to. What is the Minister for Labour up to? It would appear in the latter case that there is a touch of jobs for the boys. However, in the case of the Minister of Education I am baffled. Why get rid of such a valuable asset — our young craftsmen-tradesmen? What is the hidden agenda?
In the original draft form, the Bill did not include the College of Music but it was later put in with the rider, only in so far as it pertains to such courses at “higher Education” level. Why include it here? Why not in Bolton Street, Kevin Street, Rathmines, Cathal Brugha Street of the College of Marketing and Design? Was it put in as a wedge to get rid of nonhigher education courses in other colleges at a later date? If that is the case then the Bill as it stands is a very bad Bill, a dangerous Bill, a Bill that actually undermines education and educational aspirations, especially those of disadvantaged people in our society, many of whom I represent.
Mr. Kenneally: It has been most gratifying to hear Waterford Regional College receive such an airing here this morning, both from my colleague from Waterford, Deputy O'Shea, and from Deputy Cullimore from Wexford. Indeed Deputy Cullimore and I were in Waterford Regional College in the same year. The college is very important to the development of the south-eastern region.
The presentation of the Regional  Technical Colleges Bill, 1991, and the Dublin Institute of Technology Bill, 1991, is an extremely important step forward in allowing the colleges concerned to continue their development. To a large extent a layer of bureaucracy is being removed and more freedom is being allowed to the colleges to express themselves and indeed they are being given a chance to show what they can do. I contend that the more vibrant colleges involved will perform extremely well as a result of this legislation, but others may suffer and lose a certain amount of the reputation they may have at present. To a certain extent many of our regional colleges are insulated and protected too much and that is why I believe that those who are not geared up for the challenges ahead may suffer somewhat from what is being proposed. However, it would be wrong to deny the better and more ambitious colleges because of the deficiencies among some of their competitors. They are competitors, because all will be competing for the student pool; and obviously the colleges that have a better academic record will be most likely to attract the greater part of that student pool. It will also put the regional colleges into the position at which, for the first time, they can compete with the universities.
I intend to restrict my comments in the course of my contribution to reference to the Regional Technical Colleges Bill and its implications for the various regions. In common wih other developing countries Ireland is experiencing major structural transformations affecting what is produced, how production is organised and where production actually takes place. Broadly, those changes have resulted in a simultaneous shift from employment in agriculture and industry to an emphasis on employment growth in services and replacement of blue collar and unskilled occupations by highly skilled, professional and managerial workers. Thus, between 1971 and 1981, 78 per cent of all employment growth was in the service sector and white collar occupations accounted for 81 per cent of all new jobs created. At the same time  Ireland has experienced a dramatic shift of population and employment in favour of urban areas, especially Dublin.
As industry becomes more technologically sophisticated and as service and information functions become specialised there is an inevitable tendency for firms to locate in or near centres of excellence in the field of information, research, higher education and decision-making functions. Thus, not surprisingly, from 1971 to 1981 and again from 1981 to 1984 the eastern region and Dublin, with its vast array of information related functions and services, attracted a growing share of new white collar service jobs. The Dublin area also attracted much of the new high technology industry because of its need for proximity to research facilities and higher education institutions.
Thus the shift towards service activities, information economy and high technology industry is intensifying into regional disparities and imposing increased costs on society. Meanwhile regional centres lacking in higher education and research opportunities are increasingly bypassed by industries and services and are in danger of suffering irreversible decline at least in relative terms. It is now widely accepted that the presence of a higher education institution offering a wide range of degree and postgradute opportunities is one of the key elements in a regional development strategy of relevance to the late 20th century. The importance of higher education institutions in regional development strategies can be seen particularly because of the benefits to a region from local expenditure on higher education and also the resultant regional income multiplier benefits deriving from increased purchasing power in that region.
While the importance of education in regional economic growth has long been recognised and quantified, few institutions of higher education have been developed for the purpose of meeting regional needs. However, there is now abundant evidence that such institutions can have profound benefit for the general development of the host region and its  population. The underlying theory suggests that investment in education is a prior condition for the development of high level, technology based industry and services. In turn, technologically based activities depend upon brainpower for their raw material and thus require a sophisticated infrastructure linked to higher education facilities. The interrelationship of technology and education is seen as the major instrument for the modernisation of communities and their regions.
Education can be viewed as the mechanism which enables the national use and organisation of other factors of production, that is, land, labour and capital. In short, higher education is seen as a catalyst in the regional economy, bringing down the intellectual infrastructure for technological developmennt, modernising the social fabric and changing the pattern of cultural consumption. Neave has suggested that higher education
should act as a stimulus to the economic circuit bringing a new injection of capital into the region and by bringing highly skilled personnel such as teachers, researchers and administrators, who constitute the prime element from which the intellectual infrastructures are built and by which it is expanded.
Much of Ireland's research and development is university based and indeed many new firms are now funding university research, which has also seen new electronic firms gravitating towards cities and towns with the better third level institutions. This has seen the growth of many technology parks and the development of business and enterprise centres. This, in particular, is what I meant earlier when I said that regional colleges would now be in a position to compete with universities as a result of this Bill.
This is clearly encompassed in section 5 of the Bill, which makes provision for  the colleges to engage in research, consultancy and development work, either separately or with other institutions, to provide services in relation to such work and to enter into arrangements to exploit such work. Activity in the research and consultancy and other industry-linked areas, for which the colleges have currently no statutory authorisation, have become increasingly important in recent years. Many new opportunities are now going to be opened up for our regional colleges. Speaking about my own regional college in Waterford I have often been disappointed at the large sums of money being expended in some of the universities on research and development projects which might now be attracted to the regional college. This Bill gives the college authorities the opportunity to compete for corporate spending on research and development in a much more meaningful way than they could do up to now. There is little doubt that centres of excellence in higher education promote growth in the region through their output of specialised knowledge and that they enhance a region's capacity to attract outside resources.
There was a general consensus on higher education that continual expansion was necessary to meet the growth in numbers in search of higher education and also to ensure that Ireland has the educated and skilled labour to enable us compete as the world enters the post-industrial era of high technology and service industry. Indeed, this consensus was reflected in the Programme for Economic and Social Progress under which provision is made for additional third level places here. The 1980 White Paper on Educational Development foresaw an increase in third level education enrolments from 33,100 in 1975-76 to 51,000 in 1990-91. Emphasis was placed on the need for the various institutions to play complementary and supportive roles. The White Paper dealt extensively with the regional technical colleges stating that the time was ripe for having some formal mechanism to review their operations in the light of the purposes for  which they were founded. This review is now taking place as a result of the colleges Bills now before us.
It is timely that we should be discussing these measures now because over the last few years the youth population bulge has begun to work its way into third level. It will take another ten years or so for the high birth rates to work their way right through that sector. After the year 2,000 only will the falling birth rate begin to result in a reduction of pressure on third level places. Obviously, the quality of the places on offer must be of as high a standard as possible. This Bill gives the present regional colleges sector an opportunity to achieve that goal.
While the Vocational Education Act, 1930 has served its purpose its provisions outlived their usefulness a couple of years ago. There has been a definite need to introduce some legislation more appropriate to what regional colleges are doing at present than what they were doing when first set up in 1970. The universities are governed under the Universities Act, 1908. While this Bill does not go anywhere near giving regional colleges the autonomy that universities enjoy, nevertheless in some respects, particularly in relation to governing bodies, academic councils and so on it does mirror part of that legislation. The idea of setting up an academic council is to be welcomed.
I realise that to date a regional college could set up its own academic council on a non-statutory basis, if it so wished. It is often difficult to generate the correct enthusiasm or support for such a body when it is not statutorily based. In this case, as indeed is the case with the main universities, it is enshrined in legislation that such a council should be formed. Such a council will have a key role to play in the future policies and development of its regional college. There are usually many people working within a particular organisation who have some excellent ideas on the direction they would like to see a college going, but are denied an opportunity of putting forward their views in a proper forum. A good  academic council can only be a tremendous asset in any third level institution.
I am glad to note also that there will be student representation on this body. Indeed, it is a feature of this Bill that it recognises the part students must play in the development of their college. In fact this goes a step beyond the Universities Act, as there is no statutory provisions in that Act for student participation. Usually, that is done by way of ministerial appointment to the board of governors in the universities.
Committees form a very important part of any organisation. That is true of sports clubs, factories, social clubs, schools, colleges, or whatever; the list is endless. I know from my experience at local authority level that some of the best work always is done in committee. The same should be the case in the regional colleges under this Bill. Different colleges in different parts of the country obviously will have different needs. The Bill does not set out to tie their hands as to which committee they should or should not set up but allows them the flexibility of forming committees which they feel are necessary for their purposes.
There are one or two provisions in the Bill with which I would not totally agree. That is natural as it would be impossible for anybody to frame legislation and expect everybody to agree 100 per cent with every line of its provision. One small criticism I have is in relation to the composition of the governing body. The county council and county borough councils in a region in which there is a regional college, should be the body nominating to the governing body, not the Vocational Education Committee's representing that local authority area. I say that because such would ensure that it would be a public representative from that area who would be appointed to the governing body. There must be public accountability. The only way to so ensure is through public representatives democratically elected by the people. However, while speaking about public representatives, I agree that Members of the Oireachtas, or of  the European Parliament, should not be members of governing bodies. I agree with the Irish Vocational Education Association's contention that a representative from the Federation of Irish Employers also should be a member. Again, I should like to draw attention to the fact that a student representative once more, by statute, will be a member of the governing body.
Another matter which the Bill does not seem to recognise is the fact that a regional college is just that, a regional college and not a local college. There are many references in the Bill to recommendations to the Minister from the vocational education committee in whose functional area a college operates. For instance, the chairman must be appointed by the Minister on the recommendation of the Vocational Education Committee. Similarly he can be removed by the Minister on the recommendation of the Vocational Education Committee. In these instances the Vocational Education Committee referred to is the one responsible for that college at present.
Again, the Bill stipulates that every ordinary member of the governing body shall be appointed by the Minister on the recommendation of the Vocational Education Committee. That sort of reference appears throughout the Bill. I wonder whether there is not some other mechanism that could be used to ensure that the entire region plays its part in the decision-making process, not just the local Vocational Education Committee.
A major role is being given to any college as regards the selection of their staff and for their appointment by the Vocational Education Committee. Obviously, all this will have to be done within the budget provided by the Department of Education. Nevertheless flexibility is being afforded them to operate within those constraints. For example, a college can determine the number of their staff, their pay and conditions of service, whereas the Vocational Education Committee will be the body responsible for dismissals, suspension or removal from  office on the recommendation of the governing body. It is also pleasant to note that a college can appoint suitable persons to research fellowships, teaching assistantships and other support posts in relation to the offering of services on a temporary, part-time or contract basis. This helps to expand a college's activities so that apart from being a place of learning it will also develop a linkage with local industry to their mutual benefit and, ultimately, to the benefit of the region. In relation to the enhanced connection with local industries, I am pleased that a college will be placed in the position to levy fees and charges for research, consultancy and development work.
Having earlier supported some amendments on the part of the IVEA there are others with which I disagree. My criticism of the Bill is in relation to the fact that its provisions seem to regard it as a local technical college rather than a regional technical college. That criticism could be levelled also at the IVEA. They also do not appear to propose any amendments which would give some role to the Vocational Education Committees beyond the immediate vicinity of the college. The Bill's provisions eliminate some of the bureaucracy of which we are so fond here. However, the IVEA seem to advocate that certain layers of bureaucracy should be kept in place. I contend they will not serve any real purpose.
Section 15 proposes that grants to college from the Exchequer should go straight to the college rather than as heretofore, through the Vocational Education Committee; that is eminently sensible. What is the point in a cheque being issued by the Department of Education, they having received it from the Department of Finance, to the local Vocational Education Committee, who in turn must issue another payment to the college concerned? Would it not be simpler to send it direct to the college initially? This type of circular payment obtained with regard to housing loans in the Department of the Environment up to relatively recently. That practice has been changed and the same is happening here.
 I assume that what the Minister is endeavouring to achieve in section 16, (i) is a standard form of accounting which may or may not be the form used by universities at present. I hope that it is the same form of accounting procedure. That is a sensible course of action. I do not agree with the IVEA's contention that they should be allowed choose their method of accounting. This ties in also with the appointment of the Comptroller and Auditor General to carry out annual audits for the college rather than the local government auditor. I am on record in this House as criticising the method of accounting used by local authorities. That system should be changed also. Nonetheless it is the system with which the local government auditor is most familiar and the one with which it appears he will have to continue dealing in the foreseeable future. He has a different expertise from that of the Comptroller and Auditor-General. Accordingly, it is more appropriate to allocate this function as suggested in the Bill.
Perhaps I can be a little parochial for a moment and refer to the needs of my constituency of Waterford, more broadly, the entire south-eastern region in relation to the need for further degree courses. The House should remember that Waterford is the only county borough here that does not have a university at present. This is something I should like to see addressed in the short term rather than the long term. Similarly, something else I have learned over the last couple of years is that a university, a centre of educational excellence, or whatever, is not established by bricks and mortar only but rather by reputation. The regional technical college in Waterford has the finest reputation in that sector in the country. On that account I am quite convinced it has the ability to evolve into a full university as long as there is as little outside interference as possible. Indeed, one of their degree courses this year attracted more applications than any other course anywhere in the country and I am including UCC, UCD, etc. in that. That is a measure of the excellence that has been achieved there.
 I know that the Minister will have a certain amount of power as a result of this Bill, but I hope that it will be precautionary more than anything else. I would like to see the Minister become involved in the operation of regional colleges only when it is totally necessary and let the colleges get on with doing the job themselves. Those that are efficiently run will prosper as a result. This Bill is allowing that opportunity and, assuming that there is little outside interference, we can look back at some time in the future and realise that this legislation was a watershed in the development of third level education.
Mr. Browne: (Carlow-Kilkenny): Tá sé ait go bhfuilimid anseo inniu agus go rabhamar ag labhairt faoi Bhille oideachais, cé nach raibh aon Bhille oideachais os ár gcomhair le 60 bliain, ó 1930. Is dócha go bhfuil oideachas ag dul chun cinn sa tír agus sa Dáil agus go bhfuil an-suim ag an Aire go mbeidh an fhorbairt sin le feiceáil go soiléir. Os rud é go bhfuil RTC againn i gCeatharlach, tá an-suim agam sa reachtaíocht seo agus tá súil agam go ndéanfaidh sé maitheas ní amháin don oideachas ach do Cheatharlach féin.
The previous speaker sang the praises of Waterford, but there is very strong competition from Carlow, where high standards are being achieved. I am very proud that we have such an excellent regional college in Carlow which has done so much for the students and for Carlow itself.
All of us involved in education or with children of our own have gone through the trauma of seeing children filling CAO forms and realising that places in third level education have become difficult to obtain. It is disappointing for many people who often work very hard to reach a certain standard but then fail to do so. Sometimes they aim too high. It is important that we do not get carried away with academic achievements. Anyone who has been in the teaching profession will realise that there are various strata in the classroom. Many will never achieve  the high standards attained by the very bright children but they will probably achieve satisfaction in doing what they want to do. There is far too much emphasis on academic subjects. At examination time in class I always assured those who were not among the first ten that some day they would stop in their Mercedes and offer me a lift. It happens on a regular basis, but the car is not always a Mercedes. The Lord looks after those who were not the very brightest children. They may have manual skills or other talents — in some aspect of music, for example.
The regional colleges offer a wide choice. They can deal with the academically gifted and with others who have technical skills. In 1980 they had 6,500 students and today that number has grown to 20,000. The number of students in the Dublin Institute of Technology colleges has increased from 4,000 to 8,600. These colleges are obviously delivering the goods and it is wonderful to see that happening. I hope this Bill will enable the regional colleges to make further advances.
I should like to see regional colleges having scope to award their own degrees with university status. There must be international recognition of achievements. The Bill provides for special status for consultancy and research in regional colleges. This is very important because in the long run it will give them their special status in society. In Carlow we have the CIM centre and the industrial liaison section which brings in local industry and gives a practical example of the work involved. It is a key factor in any region that there is expertise which can be called upon by industry, if required. If a foreign industry is considering locating in an area they are often delighted to find a regional technical college in the locality because skills will be taught there. It is very important that there should be a source of information and skills.
When changes are made in a system one must worry about the staff who work in the institutions. Sections 11 and 12  deal with the changeover and we must make sure that there is no diminution in the position of the staff. The academic council will be given legal status under the provisions of the Bill. This definite foundation is necessary because the council will steer the college through their academic achievements. Another section deals with autonomy. If extra work is created I hope the Minister will not leave the colleges short of the required staff. A theoretical advance must have the necessary practical backup. Extra resources should not be given in a begrudging way.
I have always believed that regional technical colleges will never be fully regarded by people as third level institutions as long as they are linked to second level institutions. I welcome the proposal to remove control for regional colleges from vocational education committees. Even though there will still be a link between the two sectors, regional colleges should be autonomous. It is very hard for regional colleges to compete internationally when they are more or less controlled by second level bodies. I am glad we are finally giving regional colleges the status they deserve.
In time we will see the introduction of polytechnic colleges here. This will enable these colleges to stand as one and take their place in the third level education system in a proper way. When one takes into account the allocation by Eolas of £100 million of European Regional Development Fund funding to universities and only £100,000 to regional colleges, one can see the need for the setting up of one overall body which will ensure that regional technical colleges get the status they deserve in the third level education area and that they get more EC funding. Whether or not we like it, in the long term European funding is what will keep this country going in more areas than just education. While we need to ensure that regional technical colleges get the status they deserve this will be of little use to them if they do not get adequate funding. On Committee Stage I will refer in detail to other problems in this area. I will refer in particular  to the proposal to allow the Dublin Institute of Technology to award degrees. Both regional technical colleges and the Dublin Institute of Technology should be parallel in terms of courses and academic awards. If we start splitting them further this will give raise to trouble. These colleges should be on a par.
Inspection of the accounts of regional technical colleges by an auditor or the Comptroller and Auditor General should be part and parcel of the third level educational system. I would support any measure which would give greater status to regional colleges and enable them to grant awards which are recognised internationally. Irish students with a qualification from a regional technical college here should be able to have their certificates recognised in England and Wales. I welcome the Bill. As I said, I will deal in detail on Committee Stage with some problems I see in this area.
Mr. M. Kitt: Cuirim fáilte roimh an dá Bhille seo agus go háirithe roimh Bhille na gColáistí Teicniúla Réigiúnacha. Déanaim comhghairdeas leis an Aire agus freisin le príomhoide agus foireann Choláiste Teicniúil Réigiúnach na Gaillimhe, agus na mic léinn sa choláiste sin.
I welcome the Regional Technical Colleges Bill which will give regional technical colleges greater potential to develop. In her speech the Minister said that the regional technical colleges have come of age and that these Bills are a celebration of the maturity of regional technical colleges and their important links with the vocational education committees.
First, I want to compliment the National Council for Educational Awards for the work they have done over the years. They have been responsible for the granting of awards, diplomas and certificates to regional technical college graduates. The National Council for Educational Awards have responsibility for approximately 37 colleges. I recently requested from the National Council for Educational Awards a list of the courses available in regional technical colleges. I  was amazed at the large number and great variety of courses offered by the nine regional technical colleges. I welcome the provision which will enable other colleges to be brought within the scope of the Bill in the future.
Business studies, engineering and science are the most popular courses run by regional technical colleges. For example, 16 engineering courses of different types are run by Athlone Regional Technical College. Galway Regional Technical College offer a great variety of courses, for example, a unique course in woodcarving, which is carried out at Letterfrack. A course on woodcarving and design is unique and very interesting and is very appropriate to the Galway region. We must not lose sight of the fact that these are regional technical colleges. Like other regional technical colleges, Galway Regional Technical College need more resources. I hope the Minister takes this point into consideration. Under section 17 colleges will be able to raise revenue. I well refer in greater detail to this very important provision on Committee Stage.
Over the past number of years there has been a large increase in the number of students attending third level colleges. Since 1987, the year the Minister for Education took up office, the number of students in third level colleges increased from 56,000 to 75,000. I should like to congratulate the Minister for the work she has done in this area. She has made great strides in easing the pressure on students, particularly those who are disadvantaged, to gain points for entry to university. She has also established the Youthreach programme for young people who have left school at an early age and the vocational training opportunities scheme for long term unemployed adults over 21 years.
It has been suggested that regional technical colleges duplicate many of their courses. I totally reject that suggestion, as regional technical colleges have always shown themselves to be flexible. The Regional Technical Colleges Bill will give them an extra incentive to be flexible. There is no veterinary faculty  in Galway University and students from the west who want to do pharmacy have to go to Trinity College. Regional technical colleges offer a great variety of courses. The National Council for Educational Awards have always monitored the courses run by colleges to ensure that the same courses are not run in, for example, Galway and Athlone, which geographically are very close. Galway Regional Technical College run an aquaculture course which is very appropriate to the west where there are many maritime counties. They also run hotel and catering courses which are very necessary to tourism and industry in that region. The regional technical college in Letterkenny run a fish farming course but this college is a sufficient distance from Galway city.
I would like to stress to the Minister the need for an information booklet for students in relation to eligibility for third level grants and scholarships. There are too many grant awarding bodies in this country, for example, regional technical colleges are administering the European Social Fund grants — they do a very good job — the local authorities and the vocational education committees administer the same grants with the same income limits and one wonders why there is this duplication. It reminds me of what an old person once said to me in Galway: “I need to do up the house, I do not know whether I should go to the local authority or to the health board but I will go to both and between the two of them we might get some assistance for housing repairs”. There is much duplication because these schemes are administered by both the local authorities and the vocational education committees, both of whom have the same criteria as regards academic qualifications and income eligibility. The Minister reduced the qualification requirement from four honours to two honours which enables many students to get into different courses at third level. I am glad there has been so much co-operation between the regional technical colleges and that we have such a variety in the courses.
 One matter about which I am disappointed every year is the lack of knowledge which students and parents seem to have regarding the type of courses available and the completion of the CAO form. Students who complete these forms know, if they get the required number of points, they will get their first choice, usually the college nearest to them, but they do not think as carefully about the second choice. Every year I hear students say they did not get Galway — because for various reasons the points are high there — they did not realise Sligo was also doing secretarial studies and they find they are getting a place in Cork. People when completing those application forms must be very careful.
I should like to refer to student accommodation. Every regional technical college has a register. Obviously, they get the best accommodation possible for students. This task will prove more difficult in view of the increasing numbers taking up various courses. I mention in particular the scheme drawn up by University College Galway with the private sector on a lease back basis and which qualified for tax incentives. As we are all aware these tax incentives will no longer exist next year. I regret they will disappear at a time when many colleges and particularly the regional technical colleges are trying to see what they can do to provide student accommodation on that same lease back basis. If this type of proposal is coming from the regional technical colleges I hope the Government, and particularly the Ministers for Finance and Education, will look at the possibility of some exemption being given to educational institutions so that they can provide student accommodation that is so badly needed particularly in a city such as Galway where we have a huge increase in the number of students in our university and also in our regional technical colleges. It is an historic day that we are coming of age and witnessing that celebration for our regional technical colleges. I wish them and the other colleges success in the future.
Mr. Blaney: May I ask what time is available to me?
Acting Chairman (Mr. M. Barrett): As far as I understand there is no limit on this Second Stage debate.
Mr. Blaney: At least I will be continuing after Question Time. I am appalled by the introduction of this Bill at this time considering that over the years we have been promised, and are still being promised, an overall comprehensive education Bill, of which this would form a small part. What has happened to all the blurb we heard about the education Bill and the need for it? There is a need for it. Why is this being pushed through as if it was of mighty importance? Those of us who have a long association with the establishment of the regional technical colleges, know that those colleges are doing very well, thank you, and if they were not doing well there would be no effort on the part of this or any other Minister, or the Department of Education who are in the shadow behind whoever is Minister for Education, to take them over.
Despite all the blurb we have heard about it, the explanatory memorandum, the Minister's speech and the contents of the Bill, which is such a convoluted document, it is difficult to know what its intention is. What is intended in that Bill could be written in five sentences. Instead of that we have several pages and what is striking about every page and every paragraph is that there is either a reference to “the Minister shall direct,”“the Minister shall grant,”“the Minister as she considers appropriate, from time to time.” It is the Minister all down the line.
I take issue with the intentions of this Bill which are, without question, to centralise control in Marlborough Street and to take away from the local elected representatives the job they have been doing so well, often on a very limited budget, endeavouring in every sense of the word, to expand the colleges which were set up not only for the education of students to a third level degree course.  The fact that they are named regional technical colleges is what inspired us to place them in the provinces. That enables us to educate more of our young people and those leaving second level who would not be able, because of various circumstances, to attend our universities.
These colleges have done a marvellous job, a wonderful job. The Minister is asking for more places. That is a tall order for the college in Letterkenny where we do not have the space and the Minister has refused to give it to us. We are tenants in part of an old mental hospital and there are over 600 students. We cannot get a bob to put a stone on a stone to build on the campus which is the only way the college can accommodate what we have got at present. In Letterkenny we have grown from 540 students in 1985 and one diploma course to 1,300 students at present in that institution, with six diploma courses and a further three forecast for next September. The student body is rising to anything approaching 2,000 and yet the Minister is paying lip service to the expansion of third level places. She will not even accommodate those we have in what was the smallest college of all the colleges established here by the late Donogh O'Malley who must be turning in his grave.
An Ceann Comhairle: The questions we are about to embark upon are Priority Questions for which 15 minutes only is provided under the Standing Orders of the House.
1. Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline the assurances which have been sought from Colonel Gadaffi and the Libyan authorities on renunciation of support for and the ending of arms supplies to the Provisional IRA; and if he will outline the results which have been attained.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): On Monday I had a bilateral meeting in Brussels with the Foreign Minister of Libya who was attending a meeting between the European Community and the Arab Maghreb Union of which Libya is a member. I outlined to the Libyan Foreign Minister our grave concerns on the issue and asked him for assurances that Libya had renounced its support for the IRA and had ended its arms supplies to that organisation.
The Libyan Foreign Minister assured me in his official capacity that Libya does not recognise, does not deal with and will not deal with the IRA; that Libya does not supply the IRA with arms or money; and that it does not develop contacts and has no relations with the IRA. He went on to assure me that Libya is closing its doors to any organistion practising terrorism anywhere in the world whether it be in the Middle East, Latin America or Europe including in particular Ireland.
I welcome these assurances and I expect the Libyan authorities to adhere scrupulously to them.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: I am pleased to have received this very positive response from the Minister on an issue that has been of grave concern to me and to many others. There was clear evidence of arms supplies from Libya in the past. In order to be sure that the position is copperfastened will the Minister say if he accepts the assurances given by the Libyan Foreign Minister as amounting to a clear and unequivocal renunciation of support for the IRA and as an absolute commitment to ensure that there will not be any further supplies of arms to the Provisional IRA from Libya?
Mr. Collins: I had a very frank discussion with the Foreign Minister of Libya on Monday. I had a discussion with  his ambassador at the UN, who was a former Foreign Minister, on 27 September last so that the Foreign Minister on Monday knew what I was talking to him about. We talked about events in the past, indeed events in the recent past. I was able to recall vividly for him the ship, the Eksund, and certain events that happened in 1985 and 1986 from which people on all parts of this island are still suffering. The assurances were given in good faith and I sincerely hope they will be scrupulously adhered to.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: The Minister expects that they will be?
Mr. Collins: Yes.
2. Proinsias De Rossa asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline the matters discussed at his recent meetings with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mr. Peter Brooke; if any new initiatives are planned to encourage the re-opening of dialogue between the democratic political parties in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
3. Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether he proposes any initiative with a view to securing a resumption of the Brooke talks on the future of Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Mr. Collins: I propose to take Questions Nos. 2 and 3 together.
The Government have consistently made clear their desire that the talks process should continue and be brought forward to fruition. Our concern over the past months has been to assess how best matters can be moved forward in the shortest possible time. I have discussed the matter in depth at a number of meetings with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, including most recently in Belfast last Friday, and our shared  priority is to ensure that everything possible is done to encourage the resumption of dialogue.
As to the matters discussed in recent meetings with Mr. Brooke, the joint statements issued at the conclusion of conference meetings are published and available in the Dáil Library. At our informal meeting last week, we discussed a number of matters of current concern, including the talks process and confidence issues.
Proinsias De Rossa: Obviously my question relates to an earlier meeting with Mr. Brooke. The issue at that time related to Mr. Hurd's comments that the question of a united Ireland was no longer the central issue relating to Northern Ireland. What is the Minister's response to that? Will the Minister confirm that the Brooke talks initiative in which the Irish Government will be involved at some stage is about the creation of a political framework in which all democratic parties in Northern Ireland can pursue their aspirations within the context of Northern Ireland as it exists and that they are not primarily intended to establish a united Ireland?
Mr. Collins: I have given Deputy De Rossa, and his colleagues, a very clear picture of the situation with regard to the efforts of both Governments to try to get political dialogue going. Both Governments are committed to it and have said so on every occasion. Both Governments are presently, through the conference, trying to assess the situation and how best to get talks moving again. That is our intention and we will make every effort to get talks moving again.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Will the Minister accept that the need for a political solution was never more necessary than it is today? Will the Minister accept that this need is further highlighted by the dreadful sectarian murders that have become common place? Will the Minister agree that the search for a political solution should not be in any way delayed because of the impending election in the UK?  Will the Minister consider a proposal that an intiative or a declaration be signed by the leaders of all the constitutional parties in the UK and in the Republic urging the leaders on the Unionist and Nationalist sides in Northern Ireland to respond to the calls to them to get talking?
Mr. Collins: I thank Deputy O'Keeffe for his helpful and positive attitude. There is full support for what both Governments are trying to do not just within the Governments but in the parliaments they represent. In addition, it is clear that there is tremendous support among the public for what we are trying to achieve and also an understanding of the difficulties that have to be overcome. A very informed opinion poll conducted here recently, in Northern Ireland and on the mainland UK clearly showed that there was tremendous public support for what we are doing. The recent upsurge in violence clearly shows the need for progress on the political front. It shows that on a political level we have to face up to reality. People representing political party leaders will have to make a more determined effort to ensure that dialogue gets under way.
Proinsias De Rossa: I fully accept the Minister's declaration that he and the Government are anxious for talks to resume. Nevertheless, there are certain conditions on which talks can get underway. One of those conditions is that all the participants have to be assured that their positions will not be undermined. In that regard would the Minister not be prepared to say here today that the purpose of the talks is not to change the constitutional position of Northern Ireland. It is to create a framework for democratic political activity in Northern Ireland which in no way undermines the aspirations either of the Nationalist people in Northern Ireland or indeed the Unionist people in Northern Ireland but gives them the freedom to pursue those aspirations democratically and in peace. It would be helpful in getting the talks under way if that kind of declaration were  made. Could I just ask, as I do not want to get up on my feet again——
An Ceann Comhairle: Could we have brevity.
Proinsias De Rossa: The question of security is obviously discussed at these meetings. Was the question of internment discussed and did the Government express a view on it?
An Ceann Comhairle: That is a separate matter.
Proinsias De Rossa: We have been told that security is discussed. Was the question of security discussed in relation to the current upsurge of violence in Northern Ireland? What was the Government attitude expressed on that? Was the question of Kevin McGovern——
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is introducing extraneous matters.
Proinsias De Rossa: They are not extraneous matters.
An Ceann Comhairle: Please, Deputy De Rossa, let us have no argument about the matter.
Proinsias De Rossa: These are matters which were specifically referred to in the remarks published after the meeting. I am asking the Minister what the Government's attitude is to them.
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy De Rossa, you have had a fair opportunity to put some questions. Please bring your questions to finality.
Proinsias De Rossa: If you would let me speak I would have been finished 30 seconds ago.
An Ceann Comhairle: You have been speaking for some considerable time, Deputy.
Proinsias De Rossa: These are Priority Questions, a Cheann Comhairle.
An Ceann Comhairle: Yes, to which a time limit applies.
Proinsias De Rossa: Either Priority Questions have some value in terms of giving some latitude to the spokesperson asking the questions or they are a nonsense.
An Ceann Comhairle: Within the prescribed limit, Deputy, surely.
Proinsias De Rossa: The prescribed time limit is 15 minutes and there are still four minutes to go, a Cheann Comhairle, so will you please allow me to continue with my questions?
An Ceann Comhairle: I would like the Deputy to bring his question to finality.
Proinsias De Rossa: I would be more than finished, a Cheann Comhairle, if you had let me conclude, so I would appeal to you to show some tolerance to me in this House.
An Ceann Comhairle: This is an obstruction of the Chair.
Proinsias De Rossa: A Cheann Comhairle, you are the person who is obstructing me.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: I have a vested interest in this. I have another question on the Order Paper and I have another supplementary question. I would be glad if Deputy De Rossa would say what he has to say and let us get on with it.
Proinsias De Rossa: I was about to conclude, a Cheann Comhairle, by asking the Minister if he could indicate what response he got from Mr. Brooke regarding the death of Kevin McGovern and what steps the Government are taking to deal with that matter.
An Ceann Comhairle: It is a separate matter.
Proinsias De Rossa: It is not a separate matter.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair decides on such matters, Deputy.
Mr. Collins: It is very important that we remind ourselves that a basis for talks was agreed last March after many months of painstaking preparations and this was a very finely balanced package which took into account the sensitivities of all the participants. Most people would accept that it would be a very great pity now to throw away the results of all that earlier work. I have no doubt that there would be overwhelming public support, North and South, for an immediate resumption of the talks on that basis.
For the present at least, I feel that our continuing emphasis must be on exploring fully and patiently the possibilities of building up what has been achieved and of bringing people back to the negotiating table on the basis agreed earlier. That would be the most direct and commonsense way to resume the political dialogue which is so urgently required.
Finally, let me say, in reply to other elements of the Deputy's supplementary questions that of course all matters pertaining to security are discussed at meetings of the Anglo-Irish Conference in very great detail, but the Deputy knows full well that there is never public debate on these matters afterwards.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: I have just one final point. Will the Minister take on board the heartfelt anxiety, on the part of not just myself and my party but the entire country and the huge proportion of the population in Northern Ireland, to seek to have political talks under way and will he guarantee to this House that he will be there not just in a reactive role but will try to explore every possibility and try to follow a pro-active policy to ensure that the talks get under way as early as possible?
Mr. Collins: I acknowledge the Deputy's positive approach to the serious issue that we are talking about, which is of  great concern to all of us for very good reason. I feel the Deputy also recognises that the Government have been extremely flexible in their efforts to try to facilitate getting these talks under way. I do not want to list off in detail the many problems we had to contend with when ground shifted after agreements were already entered into between two Governments. That is a matter of record.
The Taoiseach, on behalf of the Government, and I, as joint chairman of the Anglo-Irish Conference, have said on a number of occasions, and as recently as Friday last in Belfast, that we are prepared to try to move political dialogue for the reasons that Deputy O'Keeffe has offered and which I readily accept. Of course we will maintain our positive role in trying to facilitate the leaders of all the constitutional parties to become involved in dialogue without any of us trying to pre-empt the outcome of these talks in any fashion. If I might use a phrase I have used in the past, we would approach these talks on a “no winners, no losers basis” and I think there would be support for that.
4. Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the reason the Government is going to publish a White Paper on proposed changes in EC treaties after the completion of Inter-governmental Conferences when all the relevant issues will have been decided at that stage; and his views on whether such a White Paper would serve a far more useful purpose if published now.
Mr. Collins: As has already been announced in the programme for Government, it is proposed to publish a White Paper on the new Union Treaty which it is expected will result from the current negotiation in the Inter-governmental Conferences on Political Union and on Economic and Monetary Union. These negotiations are due to conclude at the European Council in Maastricht on 9-10 December. The new Union Treaty will be ratified by member  states in the course of 1992 so as to come into effect on 1 January 1993.
It is most likely that a referendum will be necessary in this country to enable the Union Treaty to be ratified. It is the Government's intention that there should be a full and wide-ranging public discussion on the issues involved in the new Treaty so that the referendum can take place after a fully informed debate on this further stage of European integration that will be of such crucial importance to the future prosperity and wellbeing of our country.
In a changing negotiating situation within the Intergovernmental Conference, it is not possible to predict the final outcome. For this reason it would only be possible to publish a White Paper when the terms of the Treaty have been elaborated in full.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Does the Minister not accept that traditionally a White Paper sets out Government policy? A Green Paper sets it out in draft and a White Paper sets out Government policy. The idea of publishing a White Paper after everything is nailed down and put in place is absolutely ludicrous. Would the Minister not accept that not just the political parties but the country is entitled to know what is the Government policy in relation to European political and monetary union? Would he also agree that the prospects of the referendum being carried successfully would be far greater if there was an active debate in this country arising from the establishment and publication of Government policy in a White Paper?
Mr. Collins: The Government, the Taoiseach and I, and others, have already made public statements to the effect that a White Paper to inform public opinion will be before them in time for the referendum. The Deputy will be aware that the issues before the Intergovernmental Conferences have not been fully finally negotiated. In these circumstances it would be difficult to do justice to the provisions of the new Union Treaty but  the Deputy can rest assured that a White Paper will be published in good time to enable an informed public discussion to take place before the referendum.
The Single European Act — and the Deputy would have better reason to remember this than I because he was a Minister of State in the Department of Foreign Affairs at the time — was signed by Ireland in January 1986 and we had the explanatory booklet and documents about same in about November of that year before we went for the referendum. So the Deputy should understand the situation.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: I accept what the Minister has to say. I am in fact drawing from my own experience as one of the negotiators of the Single European Act. It is arising from that experience and the problems we had subsequently that I came to the conclusion early on that we should have a White Paper. I made the point that a White Paper is an expression of Government policy, not what is agreed. Is it not true that the only document of consequence in relation to political union that has been published has been published by the Institute of European Affairs? It is a very fine document which I would recommend to everybody, but in all that situation and in the situation where we have no Foreign Affairs Committee to debate it, will the Minister accept that before Maastricht we should have some real glimpse of what the Government are trying to achieve in these conferences and that that would be of benefit to the entire country and would be especially of benefit in getting the referendum through?
Mr. Collins: I agree with the Deputy in so far as he says that the booklet he referred to is a very solid basis for discussion as far as it goes. The Deputy will also know from the launching of the particular book which I was asked to do on behalf of the institute that during the course of my remarks I paid tribute to all those who were involved. For the first time — and this did not happen in 1986 — we had the senior officials of  the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Finance and other Departments contributing directly to the discussions that are taking place within the institute giving position papers on the situation as it is at the particular time. The Deputy must have regard to the fact that we are in a developing situation given that the negotiations are still taking place. The Deputy is incorrect when he says that this is the first effort which has been made to stimulate or promote a public debate on the issue. That is not so. The Taoiseach made a complete statement on the entire issue in the Dáil on or around 9, 10 or 11 July last. We have had many questions and answers on the issues involved. Indeed, the Deputy need only look at the Order Paper for the remainder of the day to see that I am to be questioned on practically every detail of the discussions taking place at present.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: That is the only way to get information.
Mr. Collins: That is not so. In some instances I will be able to give full information in respect of those areas where agreement has been reached but a number of sensitive problems have still to be resolved so it will be impossible to outline the position on them.
An Ceann Comhairle: Let us come to deal with other questions.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Is it not ridiculous that we have had to table over 100 questions to get information on the White Paper?
Mr. Collins: Fine Gael could have tabled those questions at any time they liked. They need not have waited until now and they would have been given full replies.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: We have not had a Foreign Affairs Question Time for the last six months.
Mr. Connor: We do not have a foreign affairs committee.
Mr. Collins: In fairness, I have used every public occasion which has come my way to talk at length about this issue. The Deputy knows that.
An Ceann Comhairle: Question No. 5, please.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: The Minister is weighing his words.
Mr. Currie: That is a good reason for having a foreign affairs committee.
Mr. Collins: We will have one of those, too shortly.
5. Mr. McCartan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline the Government's attitude to the plight of civilians in Iraq; if any steps are being taken to help alleviate suffering and hunger, especially among children; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Mr. Collins: The plight of civilians in Iraq is a deeply troubling one and the Government are most anxious that this grave problem should be eased as quickly as possible. Important steps have been taken by the United Nations to ensure that foodstuffs and medicines can more effectively be provided to the Iraqi population but, unfortunately, Saddam Hussein is refusing to co-operate with the United Nations.
The sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on Iraq make exceptions in the case of supplies intended strictly for medical purposes; of foodstuffs notified to the Security Council's Sanctions Committee and, with that committee's approval, of materials and supplies for essential civilian needs.
On 5 April, the Security Council insisted that Iraq allow immediate access by international humanitarian organisations to all those in need of assistance in all parts of Iraq. Sadruddin Aga Khan, whom the UN Secretary General appointed as his executive delegate, has reported that, although the results of the  humanitarian programme have been impressive, they fall far short of meeting the enormity of the humanitarian need that continues to exist in Iraq.
On 15 August, the Security Council adopted a resolution authorising the export of petroleum products from Iraq up to the value of 1.6 billion US dollars. That sum would be paid directly by the importing states into an account administered by the Secretary General and would serve principally to finance the purchase of foodstuffs, medicines and materials for essential civilan needs.
I deplore the fact that Saddam Hussein has so far refused to accept this Security Council decision which was intended to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people. I hope that the authorities in Iraq will reconsider their position.
Proinsias De Rossa: I would be at one with the Minister in deploring the decision of Saddam Hussein. I understood, however, that the war was fought to eliminate this person but he seems to be still in control of Iraq despite all the horrible destruction and deaths. Would the Minister indicate what the parameters of the humanitarian need in Iraq are, how many civilians, children in particular, have died since the end of the war as a result of hunger and disease and the steps which are being taken apart from the provision of food and medicines, to assist in the reconstruction of the civilian infrastructure in Iraq?
Mr. Collins: The plight of the Iraqi civilian population is a serious one and Sadruddin Aga Khan has said that there could be a full scale famine within six months. An Oxfam representative who visited Iraq in September reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that at that time eight to ten children were dying of malnutrition each day in Baghdad alone and that water supplies in southern Iraq were being polluted as a result of the damage done to the sewerage system during the war. These assessments are supported by the views of other interested welfare bodies. With regard to  the question of what can be done to help them, Ireland and the partners in the European Community have agreed to fund the sums outstanding to pay for the presence in Iraq of 500 UN guards who are playing a significant role in protecting the United Nations humanitarian teams operating there. As I said, I have been advised that the problem is not one of funding. We know and accept the fact that Iraq is rich in resources and that it is the persistent refusal of Saddam Hussein to comply with Security Council resolutions which gives rise to the situation.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Is the Minister trying to suggest that the question of funding does not arise? I was under the impression that the question of funding was relevant. Would the Minister not accept, therefore, that because the funds available for disaster relief and development have been slashed he has no funds available?
Mr. Collins: I will not mind dealing with the contents of that political supplementary question later when we come to deal with the question of funding in the proper sense of the word but it does not arise here. One is not being helpful to the case being made by Deputy De Rossa in trying to cloud it over. The question of funding is not the problem. The Security Council of the United Nations has authorised the export of US $1.6 billion of oil for the purposes outlined to the House. The responsibility lies with Saddam Hussein to avail of this lifting of the sanctions on him by the United Nations so that essential supplies can be brought in.
Mr. M. Higgins: May I ask the Minister if the attention to his Department has been drawn to the fact that a company located in Ireland have refused to complete delivery of medicines and food aid for children on the basis that the sanctions are still in place; in other words, even though they have been paid to deliver medicinal and powder products  they have used the existence of the sanctions as an opportunity to evade supplying this needed humanitarian relief for children in Iraq?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is raising a rather specific matter.
Mr. Collins: I would like to get as much detail as possible on the matter raised by Deputy Higgins and will be glad to take it up with my officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Mr. M. Higgins: I will supply the details.
Mr. Collins: I would be glad to have them.
An Ceann Comhairle: Question No. 6, please.
Mr. M. Higgins: I should have said that the company has a United States parent company.
Mr. Collins: I would welcome any details that Deputy Higgins can give me on it.
6. Mr. Shatter asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether it is intended to support the initiative taken by President Bush at the United Nations and to vote in favour of rescinding the motion passed in 1975 which equates Zionism with racism; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Mr. Collins: President Bush, in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on 23 September, appealed to the UN to repeal the resolution adopted in 1975 which purported to determine that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.
No draft resolution has yet been tabled for the repeal of the resolution. Ireland was one of the 35 countries which opposed the resolution in 1975 and voted against its adoption. We have always  rejected this offensive resolution and we would wish to see it repealed.
Mr. Shatter: I thank the Minister for his constructive reply. I presume he would agree that the resolution is perceived not just by Israelis but by many people outside the State of Israel to be a perversion of history and grossly offensive. I suggest to the Minister that we should use our own good offices in the United Nations to bring forward a resolution which is not simply an American resolution but a resolution to which a number of countries would now be willing to sign their names. Some of these countries in the Cold War political era, voted in favour of this resolution in 1975. For example, I understand the Soviet Union is now in favour of repealing this resolution. Will the Minister agree that rescinding this resolution would be a step along the road towards achieving a general peace in the Middle East? It would be a small step towards restoring the confidence of the State of Israel in the United Nations and a small step towards allowing Israel and the Arab states to reduce the levels of tension between them. Will the Minister agree that this resolution is a cause of considerable tension? I am sure it is the wish of all Members of this House that the Madrid Conference will lead to a resolution of the disputes in the area. Will he further agree it would be a constructive step to take at present?
Mr. Collins: As I have already said, we opposed the resolution in 1975 and we voted against its adoption. It is important to repeat, so that there should not be any misunderstanding about our position on the issue involved, that we have always rejected this offensive resolution and we wish to see it repealed. The call for the repeal of the Zionism and racism resolution was made by President Bush and we should allow the United States to decide how to pursue this initiative.
7. Mr. J. Higgins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposal to reduce the membership of the EC Commission to one member per State.
27. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposal to reduce the membership of the EC Commission to one member per State.
84. Dr. Lee asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposal to reduce the membership of the EC Commission to one member per State.
Mr. Collins: I propose to take Questions Nos. 7, 27 and 84 together.
The efficiency and effectiveness of the Community has been one of the principal subjects for consideration by the Inter-governmental Conference on Political Union.
The proposal to reduce the members of the Commission to one per member state has been put in this context. The Luxembourg Presidency has proposed in its draft Treaty that the number of Commissioners be reduced to one per member state. The proposal remains at the conference table.
Ireland welcomes the proposal. It will increase the efficiency of the Commission by concentrating the distribution of the portfolios within the Commission. Furthermore, the prospect of the accession of a number of new member states in the years to come reinforces the need for a new arrangement to maintain the neutrality of the Commission and, in this context, the proposal is a sensible one. It is important, in view of this, to impose some limits on the growth in size of the Commission to ensure that it does not become too unwieldy and that it retains its effectiveness.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: At last we have a point of agreement regarding the EC proposals.
Mr. Collins: There are many other areas of agreement.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: We can agree that it will cost us nothing. Of course, it is easy for us to agree to such a proposal when we have only one Commissioner. I should be interested in the reaction of the member states who have two Commissioners. I should like to tease out two points with the Minister. Does he accept, in relation to our general approach to the Commission, that it has a record of being protective towards the interests of smaller member states and that, from that point of view, it is in our interests to ensure that the Commission remains a powerful and vibrant body within EC structures? At the Irish Council of the European Movement Conference yesterday I suggested that a possible way forward, from the point of view of the democratic deficit and legitimacy of the institutions, would be for the direct election of the President of the EC Commission. Will the Minister say how he sees the Commission generally? I also invite him to react to my proposal in relation to direct elections for the President of the EC.
Mr. Collins: I will deal first with the more important element of the Deputy's supplementary question. Of course he is quite right in saying that the Commission has always been seen by the smaller member states as the protector of their interests. The Deputy knows that, right through the course of discussions and negotiations on the Intergovernmental Conference, the Commission, the Council and the Parliament are very conscious of any disturbance in the competencies of the particular institutions. The founding fathers of the European Community were very wise and sensible in the way they distributed powers to the three institutions. We should be concerned about any fall-out resulting from the disturbance of these competencies which have operated well within the Community up to now. President Jacques Delors is on record as suggesting that perhaps some member states would like to see the Commission weakened, to see it reduced to a mere bureaucracy, but it was never envisaged that the Commission  would work in that way. In regard to the right of initiative, I have negotiated with this view in mind because it is shared by the Government who instructed me in this regard, to ensure that the Commission retain the right of initiative and that we do not allow three or four larger members of the Community to take unto themselves the power, authority and role of the Commission.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: What about the direct election of President?
Mr. Collins: On Sunday evening last — this is an important element as it backs up what Deputy O'Keeffe is talking about — foreign ministers of the four less well off states in the Community, Spain, Portugal, Greece and ourselves, had a meeting with President Delors because there were certain matters before the Intergovernmental Conference for consideration which we wanted the Commission to understand. That is an example of how the smaller and weaker states look to the Commission to ensure that they are not pushed aside. With regard to Deputy O'Keeffe's suggestion that the President of the Commission should be directly elected, does he mean it should be done by the people in a general plebiscite?
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Yes.
Mr. Collins: I am not too sure, in fact I am somewhat sceptical about it. Everybody knows Jacques Delors but if he finishes his second term and does not look for a further term at the end of next year somebody new will come on the scene and the name would not mean much to the people.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: What about the Minister?
Mr. Collins: I do not think I will bother. If the Prime Minister of Denmark decided to run — although I believe he is not a runner — his name would mean very little.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: My proposal is a new one modelled on the fact that there is a President of the United States and that we do not have any directly elected President in Europe. I do not see it being implemented in Maastricht but it might be considered as one way in which the democratic deficit could be eliminated in Community institutions.
Mr. Collins: Deputy Blaney, a member of the European Parliament, is in the House and he could tell you the role which the European Parliament plays in the confirmation of the appointment of the President of the Commission. Therefore, there is provision for it. One of the things with which it is hard to come to terms is the fact that the Council appoints; Parliament can terminate the appointment but do not make appointments — one hires and cannot fire and the other fires but cannot hire. There is a delicate balance. Later questions ask about the democratic deficit to which Deputy O'Keeffe referred and I believe we can do that by making Parliament play a fuller role.
An Ceann Comhairle: I want to call Deputy Dukes, Deputy Connor and Deputy Shatter.
Mr. Dukes: I heard what the Minister said about the reduction in the number of members of the Commission although I am not sure what, if anything, he will do about it. Is the Minister aware that there has been quite a lot of discussion about the effects on the efficiency of decision making in the Commission if the number of member states in the Community is increased? There are several knocking on the door including Austria and Sweden; we may have Norway and we must also consider the Eastern European countries. Will the Minister get involved in the discussion to prevent the kind of paralysis in decision-making in that regard which arises from the outrageous expectation that we will have a Commission of 25 or 35 countries before we know where we are? We all know it will be a long time before there are even  15 member states of the Community and much longer before there are the 20 or 25 member states that the pundits are commenting on now. Would the Minister undertake to do something to bring this discussion in the institutions back to some semblance of reality, to where we will be talking about Commissioners in a Community that now has 12 member states and for the foreseeable future will have no more than 15 member states?
An Ceann Comhairle: Members are anticipating questions further down the line. These questions refer to No. 8. That question is being encroached upon.
Mr. Connor: My question is a supplementary——
An Ceann Comhairle: I will call the Deputy.
Mr. Connor: My question is a supplementary to Deputy Dukes question and might be more effectively dealt with now.
An Ceann Comhairle: Usually we hear the Minister in respect of a query.
Mr. Collins: In reply to Deputy Dukes, there is no argument between us. We have to have regard to future developments in Europe. We have the list, as outlined by Deputy Dukes, of countries who at present have applications before the Community for full membership, and within a further period of time another five or six countries will also make application. A Commission with the type of membership that would result from the system at present in operation would be a very unwieldy Commission and would not be in the best interests of the Community. This is being stated during the negotiations.
An Ceann Comhairle: We are encroaching on other questions.
Mr. Connor: In relation to the declarations received so far by the member  states on this proposal — we have heard the Minister's declaration here today, we would accept one Commissioner per country — have the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Germany made any declaration in relation to the reduction of the size of the Commission?
Mr. Collins: The Deputy is putting his finger on a sensitive button because the negotiations are still taking place. It is important to remember that at the end of the day we can only have successful conclusions by consensus. Obviously member states with two Commissioners are not prepared to agree to a reduction in that number. Obviously we are having regard to the best interests of the European Community when we agree to one Commissioner per country. Of course from a national point of view we are in a stronger position, having a Commissioner from Ireland as one of twelve, although, as Deputies know, the Commissioner has to devote himself to matters other than home affairs when he takes up his responsibility as Commissioner. We still have some distance to go before we get consensus on this matter. Further suggestions are being made in regard to a new rank of assistant commissioner but this matter has not been addressed yet during the negotiations.
An Ceann Comhairle: Let us deal with No. 8. Clearly questions are anticipatory of No. 8. Would Deputies steer clear of Deputy Durkan's question, No. 8?
Mr. Shatter: In the context of the one seat we have on the Commission, in light of the developments of the last 24 hours has the Minister received any indication that the current Commissioner might be returning prematurely to this country?
An Ceann Comhairle: No. 8 please, Deputy Durkan's question.
Mr. Collins: One can always depend on Deputy Shatter to——
Mr. Calleary: Put his foot in it. He does not know the rules.
Mr. Collins: ——try to distract us from what we are doing.
Mr. Shatter: It is not the people in front of him whom the Minister need worry about but those behind him.
8. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has satisfied himself that Irish interests are safeguarded fully in the event of the expansion of the EC from the present 12 members; his views on whether the suggestion of a two-speed Europe will materialise; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Mr. Collins: Under the terms of Article 237 of the Treaty of Rome any European state may apply to become a member of the Community. Applications have been received from Turkey, Austria, Malta, Cyprus and Sweden. The Commission has already given its opinion in respect of the applications from Turkey and Austria and is currently examining the remaining applications. Negotiations have not yet begun and are unlikely to do so until the two intergovernmental conferences have completed their work. The Commission has expressed the view that new members are unlikely to join the Community before the completion of the internal market on 31 December 1992. However, enlargement is likely to be a major issue on the Community's agenda from next year and the Government will ensure throughout any future negotiations on the accession of new countries that the interests of this country are safeguarded.
The Government have already rejected the concept of a two-speed Europe in the context of the European Monetary Union negotiations and would be concerned to ensure that the expansion of the Community from the present member states does not result in such a development.
Mr. Durkan: Would the Minister agree that there appears to be a great deal of  emphasis on the expansion of the European Community in recent times while at the same time there appears to be quite a variation in the emphasis placed by the various EC Heads of Government both on the extent of European integration and on the speed with which it can be achieved?
Mr. Collins: The Deputy is quite right in that there is quite a lot of focus on the concept of expansion of Europe. I have already listed the countries which have made application for membership, and soundings and indications from other countries are to the effect that they may be considering same — I am talking about EFTA countries. Three members of the Government of Switzerland, after the conclusion of the EEA agreement, indicated that Switzerland would seriously consider the question of application for full membership. Of course, it is also very much on Norway's agenda. We know they made application in the early seventies when we applied but a referendum prevented them from becoming members.
There is undoubtedly a very strong motivating force within certain members of the Community to enlarge the Community. Countries of Central and Eastern Europe — Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary — are now associated with the Community as a result of the Second Generation Association Agreements which have been concluded with them. They have clearly indicated that they, too, want to be part of Europe, and one can readily understand the reason. They have come in from the cold, as it were, and they are tryng to build up a democratic and open market system. They were attracted by the Community before they broke loose, and they obviously want help and support along the way. We should acknowledge that there has to be stability in Central and Eastern Europe. Otherwise the Community would be destabilised. This is part of a very wide-ranging ongoing debate and one in which we have to be fully involved.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Does the Minister  accept that the question of a two speed Europe arises not only in relation to monetary union? While I endorse entirely what the Minister has said in relation to monetary union, that we should under no circumstances get into the slow lane, would he not accept that the variable geometry, which I think is the in-phrase, could also apply in relation to political union? There is a warning in the provisional White Paper from the institute that there is a danger that if we are not fully involved in discussions on a common foreign policy and a common security policy, we could find ourselves in a second lane as far as political union is concerned. The authors of this document clearly state that that would not be in Ireland's interest; I believe it would not be in Ireland's interest and I would be very glad to hear the Minister say so.
Mr. Collins: Deputy O'Keeffe is pointing out the logic of the position of the Government in that we are fully involved in all discussions with regard to the developments that are taking place within Europe. We have been very active and up front on all the issues. We are continuously involved in all these areas and we have no intention of changing that position.
Mr. Connor: Since the question relates to safeguarding Ireland's interest in an expansion of the Community, is it the case that the EC need to expand own resources, the system of financing in the Community?
Mr. Collins: Of course.
Mr. Connor: By taking in countries that are poorer than we are it would naturally stretch the existing resources to a serious limit. Would the Minister make a statement on the proposals we are making in this regard?
Mr. Collins: We have made the position very clear, that the question of own resources has to be addressed and it will be addressed. The financial directive is  due to expire very shortly and we will have to have a new directive. The Deputy is aware of the present level of resources — it is barely sufficient to meet the needs of the Community. Early next year we will have serious discussions on a new percentage to be negotiated — it might be increased from 1.1 per cent of GNP to perhaps 1.3 or 1.4 per cent. Again, it is a matter for the member states to take into account.
Mr. Connor: What will we be looking for?
Mr. Collins: We will be looking for the maximum, obviously for very good reason. Why should we not look for the maximum, but, of course, that has to be governed by the realism of the situation and what would be acceptable?
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: What is the Minister's judgment on that?
Mr. Collins: The Deputy should understand that we will be talking about a negotiating position. We will not be going into any negotiations with a hostage to fortune attitude.
Mr. Dukes: The Minister should pitch his price high enough.
Mr. Collins: I would not object to 1.6 per cent.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Or even 1.9 per cent.
Mr. Connor: Even 2.9 per cent.
Mr. Collins: As big a percentage as he and I might hope for, we would both be very pleasantly surprised if that percentage materialised.
Mr. Dukes: I would like to be pleasantly surprised.
Mr. M. Higgins: Would the Minister not agree that the concept of a two speed Europe, while interesting as a piece of rhetoric, is in flagrant violation of the basic treaties governing the European  Community? Would he not further agree that the use of this rhetoric of a two speed Europe is not only in violation of the spirit of the existing treaties but is seriously prejudicing the discussion prior to the treaty that is likely at some stage in some unconsidered form to be put by way of referendum to the Irish people.
Mr. Collins: I thank Deputy Higgins for the thrust of his two supplementary questions. I agree with him wholeheartedly in the first instance. If it were so, it would give rise to what he suggests in his second supplementary question. It is our business to ensure that this concept is dismissed.
Mr. Durkan: Arising from the Minister's reply would he agree that the mooted expansion of the Community, while desirable in the long term, may have the effect of bringing to the fore the concept of a two speed Europe and may lend greater credence to it?
Mr. Collins: I acknowledge that the Deputy is correct in saying there is quite a desire to expand the European Community and that desire is not confined to the applicant countries presently under consideration. As I said member states also have that desire, particularly those who may have a common border with some of these countries, for very obvious political as well as trade reasons. This matter will have to be discussed. When the opinion of the Commission is brought before us at the Council we will then have to see where we are going. The House would do well to remember that in the past 12 months the Community has undergone considerable expansion with the inclusion of 17 million people from the former German Democratic Republic, which is now part of the new Germany. As far as marketing and trading is concerned we have expanded the scope of the Community by bringing in the EFTA countries which brings another 30 million to 40 million into the market. The expansion of the Community is an ongoing process and there is nothing anybody can do to prevent it. As I said in  reply to an earlier question, the Treaty of Rome provides that all countries may apply for membership of the Community and may not be denied it if they meet the criteria required.
Mr. Durkan: In an expanded EC will a two speed Europe not be inevitable?
Mr. Collins: I have ruled that out. There is no room in my vocabulary at negotiating level at any time for that particular phrase. I will not accept it.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Hear, hear.
Mr. Collins: Deputy Michael Higgins made it clear that it goes against the spirit of the Treaty of Rome and we are not about to change the Treaty in any shape or form through any backdoor method.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Does that include political union and all that entails?
Mr. Collins: We will come to that in a few minutes.
9. Mr. Currie asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will give details of the explanation he has received from the Northern Ireland Office for the presence of an army patrol in direct contact with the community and without a police presence at 10.30 a.m. at Thomas Street, Dungannon on 12 August 1991; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
114. Mr. Currie asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will give details of the explanation he has received from the Northern Ireland Office for the presence of a UDR patrol in direct contact with the community and without a police presence at 9.05 p.m. on 18 July 1991 at the Armagh-Newtownhamilton Road, two miles from Armagh; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Mr. Collins: I propose to take Questions Nos. 9 and 114 together. Upon receipt of the Deputy's questions, I  instructed my officials to raise the matters complained of through the Anglo-Irish Secretariat and to ask that they be investigated.
The British response reaffirmed their commitment to the principle of accompaniment and pointed to progress which has been achieved in increasing actual levels of accompaniment in certain areas. However, they indicated also that a number of practical, logistical or resource constraints made it impossible to guarantee a continuous police accompaniment in all areas. They stated they were no longer willing to ask the RUC to investigate specific reports of unaccompanied patrols unless there was also a complaint of misbehaviour of the patrol in question or the patrol was alleged to be operating in an area where it should not be.
The Irish Government attach very great importance to the commitment given at the highest level in the Hillsborough Communique, and on many other occasions subsequently, to ensure:
as rapidly as possible that save in the most exceptional circumstances there is a police presence in all operations which involve direct contact with the community.
We consider that, consistent with the high priority attached to the principle of accompaniment by both parties to the Anglo-Irish Agreement, all necessary steps should be taken in terms of the resources and organisational measures required to implement it. We consider also that, where a specific instance of an unaccompanied patrol is reported, it is appropriate to inquire into the exceptional circumstances which justified that particular departure from the agreed principle.
I have made clear therefore to the Secretary of State that I do not regard the present position as satisfactory, and that the Irish Government hold firmly to the objective of ensuring that the principle of accompaniment is seen to be implemented fully in line with the commitments which have been made. I will  continue to press for this through the Conference and Secretariat and will continue to raise through these channels all instances of unaccompanied patrols which are reported to me, with a view to establishing whether the case complained of was a departure from the agreed principles and, if so, the circumstances which gave rise to it.
Before leaving this issue, let me also take the opportunity to put on record my utter condemnation of the attack which occurred near Bellaghy last night. This and all other such attacks can achieve nothing other than the wanton loss of human life, and increased legacies of division and human suffering. They underline for all of us the importance of ensuring that those who resort to such methods do not succeed.
Mr. Currie: I do, of course, join in the expression of condemnation and I agree with the Minister's sentiments on the horrendous attack in Bellaghy last night and in relation to all other attacks and murders on all sides that have taken place in the North. Would the Minister agree — and from what he said here it appears he agrees — that the reply he has received in response to my inquiry is entirely unsatisfactory and that there would appear to be something added to the original commitment in the Hillsborough Commique that there would be accompaniment save in the most exceptional circumstances I now notice a reference to practical and logistical. This is the first time I have heard these words in this connection. When following up this matter will be Minister inquire about the practical, logistical or most exceptional circumstances that arose where unaccompanied military personnel were in direct contact with the public at 10.30 a.m. on a July morning in one of the main streets of a country town where there was no security flap or threat to the military? What could justify that situation? In view of the fact that this is one of many cases that I have brought to the Minister's attention since I was elected to this House, will he agree that it would appear that in certain areas of Northern Ireland  there is no real desire to or intention of implementing this policy?
Mr. Collins: I share the concern that Deputy Currie has expressed today. Deputy Currie knows that in the past I have expressed my concern about this. I have full regard to the solemn assurances given in the Hillsborough Communique and I quote directly from the communique in my reply. To me it means that a solemn commitment given at the highest possible political level is not now being regarded in the same light as it was intended that it should have been. It is an important issue. I said to Deputy Currie in my reply that it is an issue I propose to continue to keep on the agenda and to return to on every occasion. Suggestions have been made that logistical restraints at times make it impossible, I am advised in regard to non-compliance with the assurances given at the time of Hillsborough, that RUC manpower may not be available. It is not for me to give details of the availability or not of manpower of the RUC: but Deputy Currie has mentioned a political incident at a time when there was not any emergency security flap on, at a time when seemingly patrols could be planned for in sufficient time to allow RUC personnel to be involved in the security effort of the time. It is a serious matter. We have had the matter before us at conference meetings on several occasions. I must say that it is a matter of concern to me and a matter of concern to the Government.
Mr. Currie: I wish to say how glad I am to find that the Minister and I appear to be at one on this particular issue. I now suggest to him that, if it would help himself and his officials, he could say in relation to this particular incident and all of the other incidents which over the past two years or so I have brought to his attention that this is not a matter of hearsay, this is a matter of me personally observing these patrols without a police presence and me actually being stopped and questioned by the military without the presence of the RUC under circumstances in which the RUC was not  present, in which no emergency existed and in which later, in the great majority of cases, I made additional inquiries to make sure that that was the case — that there was no justification within the terms of the communique for the absence of the police. I hope that that will help to strengthen the argument the Minister puts to the British authorities.
Mr. G. Collins: Very briefly in reply, a Cheann Comhairle, because again I think the House would be ad idem on this approach, I wish to point out that there were solemn guarantees given for the gravest reasons at a particular time and we have to see to it that the agreement that was reached be implemented.
10. Tomás Mac Giolla asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether he will consider establishing formal structures to allow greater participation by voluntary relief and development organisations in decisions on (1) management of the Irish aid programme (2) allocation of funds (3) direction of the Irish bilateral programme and (4) in ongoing reviews and evaluations; whether he is considering agreeing a charter for voluntary non-governmental relief and development organisations with these organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
120. Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs when he proposes to publish the outstanding reports of the Advisory Council on Development Co-operation; and whether this will be done prior to the abolition of the council.
124. Mrs. Owen asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs when he proposes to publish the last two reports submitted to him by the Advisory Council on Development Co-operation on (1) overview of Irish Development Aid and (2) Gender issues in Development.
Mr. Collins: I propose to take  Questions Nos. 10, 120 and 124 together.
An overview of Ireland's aid programme has recently been completed by the Advisory Council on Development Co-operation. This report has been submitted to me and I am considering its contents.
The ground covered in the report i very extensive. It touches on a wide range of issues related to the objectives and the implementation of the official aid programme as well as the role of non-governmental organisations in Irish aid. The possibility of new structures for the management and implementation of the official ODA programme is one of the areas considered. I am at present giving careful study to the report in all its aspects. In view of the wide scope of the issues it raises, it would be premature at this stage to make comments on individual aspects.
In addition to the overview of Irish aid, the Advisory Council on Development Co-operation has also completed a report on gender and Irish aid, which is being studied by my Department.
I hope to be in a position to have both reports published at an early date. They will provide a very useful stimulus to the debate among interested organisations and individuals on a large number of issues related to Ireland's aid programme.
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Jim O'Keeffe, whose Question No. 120 refers.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Would the Minister not accept that the Advisory Council on Development Co-operation, which has been in existence since 1979 and which the Minister now proposes to chop, has done excellent work throughout the years, largely on a completely voluntary basis, that the small grant available to the council to cover its expenses is inconsequential in relation to the value of reports received and the work done by the council and that it is a criminal disgrace that the council is now being abolished?
Mr. Collins: That is a separate question in itself. However, I can say that the reason for the council's abolition was the need to find savings in all areas of public expenditure. I assure the Deputy that the decision was taken with regret and only after careful consideration. I intend to establish an informal independent committee to advise me on development assistance matters. When the Government decision was taken to abolish the ACDC it was agreed that the council would remain in existence until the end of this year specifically to allow the completion of the two reports to which I have referred. As I said, the reports have now been completed and there remains only the question of publication.
Proinsias De Rossa: The Minister refers to a report on an overview of ODA. Could he indicate who has prepared this report and whether any decisions or any action have yet arisen from that report? Does he not consider that the abolition of the ACDC was a pre-emptive move he made in relation to our aid programme and that it was improper of him if he is still considering the overview report to have taken the step of abolishing the advisory committee? It seems extraordinary that there is a major review under way yet one of the key bodies that has been advising the Minister is abolished before that review is completed.
Mr. Collins: I think that is not as accurate as it should be, a Cheann Comhairle. The report was completed and, as I have already said to the House, the council were allowed to complete its report. They were given an extension after the Government decision was made. The other report to which the Deputy referred was requested by the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Seán Calleary, from the ACDC and they then got that report for him.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Would the Minister not accept, now that he has put Ireland  in the position at which we hold the disgraceful distinction of being bottom of the league of OECD countries in relation to overseas development aid, that this really is the last straw? Furthermore, would he not accept that the £80,000 in savings, which will be offset no doubt by the cost of the new committee, will not appreciably change what we can do in relation to overseas development aid? Finally, because of the outstanding work that has been done by the council, with occasional criticisms here and there — which, perhaps, might be the real reason for their abolition — would the Minister now undertake in the light of the views expressed in the House to review the decision in a fair way and not to go ahead with the abolition at all?
Mr. Collins: The Deputy knows full well from statements made already on this matter and from what I have said here today that there was a Government decision taken for the reasons I have given. I point out to the Deputy that the cost of running that council was about £80,000 a year——
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Yes.
Mr. Collins: ——that the replacement committee will not have costs of that size — it will not have any costs at all — and that any additional savings will go to overseas development aid. I also tell the Deputy that there are other questions on the Order Paper that deal in greater detaíl with the amounts of moneys that may or may not be considered for this particular purpose in the coming year. Of course, all of us would wish that more moneys were available than are available at present.
Mr. Connor: The Minister has announced, although I did not hear the details very well, that he is to set up a new advisory committee to advise him on the overseas development aid programme. Would he not degree at this stage, since he will not agree to the establishment of a foreign affairs committee, to a re-establishment of the Oireachtas  Joint Committee on Co-operation with Developing Countries, which operated very well within the House between 1983 and 1986 at, I am sure, a very small cost?
Mr. Collins: I am sorry, I beg your pardon.
Mr. Connor: The point I make is that the Minister is setting up a committee to replace the advisory council. I wonder whether he would not at this stage agree to the re-establishment of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Co-operation with Developing Countries, which operated in this House very successfully between 1983 and 1986, and at an earlier stage. Quite obviously the Minister cannot give his consent, or he has so indicated, to a full foreign affairs committee, but I am sure that this committee operated at a very cheap rate, if I might put it that way, and gave very good advice to the Government and Minister at the time.
Mr. Collins: I would be the last person to suggest to this House that we would want a cheap rate committee in any form for any purpose. But committees are not what are at issue here today. Rather it is a question of how we can find additional resources to fulfil commitments about which we all believe we should be more generous.
Mr. M. Higgins: May I tease out one aspect of the Minister's reply, sticking strictly to the wording of the question in that he has been asked to reconsider his decision to abolish formal structures and, in replying, stated that he would have a set of informal advisers available to him. If we have learned anything about development and development education, would the Minister and his Minister of State not agree that this is evidenced by the establishment of a department in Development Studies, in University College, Dublin that it is an area of expertise, one that affects, for example, the existing 2,000 development workers and the couple of hundred companies involved. My question to the Minister is this: how can something that has  become complex and requires professional reports be handed to an informal body? If he is doing that, would he not agree that an informal body, of its nature, will not be able to meet as regularly? Would he agree that what it means in fact is that his Department are colonising even more so what was previously development? Furthermore, would he not agree that it means that a couple of civil servants will now take back everything that was being done, so that we will have decisions being taken by the Departments of Finance, Foreign Affairs and others who will not necessarily have development expertise?
An Ceann Comhairle: This is a very long question, Deputy.
Mr. M. Higgins: It is a very serious issue.
Mr. Collins: I can understand why the Deputy says what he does. But the Deputy must understand from me that Department of Finance officials will not be involved in any decision making with regard to where our aid should go; that is a matter for the Minister for Foreign Affairs and his Minister of State.
Mr. M. Higgins: But they have already, for example, the World Bank.
Mr. Collins: They will draw on all the advice available to them. I should say there is much advice available to us. We will not be short of any advisers and will be able to dispense with the £80,000, or whatever was the amount, perhaps a little more than that. If we can utilise that money in a more productive way on the ground, then we shall do so.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: A very bad mistake.
Proinsias De Rossa: Question No. 10 seeks to elicit specific information from the Minister with regard to the establishment of formal structures to allow greater participation by voluntary relief and development organisations in  decisions on management, the allocation of funds, the direction of our bilateral aid programme, and specifically asks whether he is considering to agree a charter for voluntary, non-governmental relief and development organisations. In response to that question the Minister said: well, we have an overview report commissioned by the Minister of State but in the meantime we are abolishing the Advisory Council which has been giving us advice and who are experts in this area. There appears to be a contradiction if, on the one hand, the Minister is commissioning studies, looking into the future, while at the same time abolishing the committee of experts who are advising him in this area with a saving of £84,000. It just does not make sense and appears to confirm what Deputy Michael Higgins was saying — that we are approaching circumstances in which it will be financial constraints that will henceforth dictate policy in the area of bilateral and multilateral aid. Would the Minister confirm that at an early date, within a matter of weeks, he will announce the Government's intention with regard to the direction of management and allocation, particularly with regard to our bilateral aid programme, for the next three to four years?
Mr. Collins: The Deputy must realise that in every area of policy financial considerations are an element to be taken into account when decisions are being taken on implementation of policy.
Proinsias De Rossa: But not solely.
Mr. Collins: That is a fact of life from which we cannot escape. What is important is to ascertain how best we can marshal our resources, how best we can get advice that will not cost us the same amount of money it cost us in the past. I am satisfied that advice is available so that we will be able to continue our programme and, hopefully, improve it considerably as our economy improves. That is important. I do not think any Member of this House gets any joy for a second out of the fact that we are not doing as  well in regard to development aid as we would like.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: It is disgraceful.
Mr. Collins: I would say to Deputy O'Keeffe that there is another question tabled which we may not reach this afternoon. The amount of money given by way of aid in 1991 was the highest in quite a long number of years.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: It was reduced from 0.26 down to 0.16 per cent of GNP.
Mr. Collins: I am not simply trying to get myself out of a tight corner on supplementary questions; I am genuinely telling the Deputy that the amount of money given in 1991 for aid far exceeded anything given for the previous five or six years.
Mr. McCormack: What hopes or plans has the Minister to get the Department of Finance to increase our annual allocation of aid to 0.7 per cent of GNP, as recommended by the United Nations, or what percentage of GNP does our contribution now represent?
Mr. Collins: The Deputy can rest assured that the Government, when making up their minds on Departmental Estimates, will have due regard to what is the overall position of national finances and be as generous as they can be in this area, in which everybody would like to be generous. Hopefully, we will be more generous than we have been. I think our contribution at present stands at 0.18 or 0.19 per cent of GNP.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe: It would be 0.16 per cent of GNP if one excludes——
Mr. Collins: I think it is 0.18 per cent of GNP. Anyway, we are not making an issue out of that. For the sake of this question we are not making an issue out of that.
Mr. McCormack: It is a good job we are not.
Mr. Collins: All I can say in reply to the Deputy is that the Departmental Estimates for 1992 are being prepared. The Government are discussing the position generally of all Departments. It would be my hope that we can convince our Government colleagues to help us achieve the Estimate target we have placed before them for consideration.
Proinsias De Rossa: May I seek clarification with regard to the Minister's statement that last year's allocation was the highest ever. Would he confirm that that increase arose directly from the aid we allocated to states involved in the war against Iraq?
Mr. Collins: The Deputy should be careful in quoting me. I did not say it was the highest ever. I said it was the highest in quite a number of years. Irrespective of the reasons for it, the fact of the matter is that perhaps other areas were denied additional moneys so that we could meet the demands being made on us during 1991.
An Ceann Comhairle: I have received a Private Notice Question form Deputy Eric Byrne. The matter is in order. Would the Deputy please put his question.
Mr. Byrne: asked the Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications if, in view of the hardship for commuters and the serious economic and social disruption which would be caused by the threatened CIE strike from Monday next and in respect of which formal notice has now been served, he will outline the steps he intends to take to seek a solution to the dispute; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications (Mr. S. Brennan): I understand that the Labour Relations Commission are attempting to contact  the parties to this dispute today. The Labour Relations Commission have already been in touch with CIE in the matter, who have indicated that they will respond positively to any Labour Relations Commission initiative aimed at seeking a resolution to the difficulties.
I would urge all parties involved to make the fullest use of the industrial relations procedures available.
Mr. Byrne: Would the Minister agree that, equally, he could request the Irish Medical Organisation to rescind their decision not to provide medical cover to the spouses and family members of CIE workers, now provoking this dispute? Furthermore, would the Minister not agree that he could reinstate to CIE that portion of the 15 per cent subsidy he has clawed back from them which would leave CIE in a financial position to reach an acceptable agreement with the Irish Medical Organisation? CIE are claiming inability to pay because the Government have cut their subvention by 15 per cent and they are unable to meet the demands of the Irish Medical Organisation.
Mr. S. Brennan: I understand the points the Deputy is making and if I thought it would help to comment on those issues I would do so. The Labour Relations Commission are trying to put together a further conciliation conference to take place before Sunday night when the deadline expires. It would be unhelpful for me to deal with the issues involved but I would appeal to all concerned to avoid any unnecessary hardship, particularly to the elderly and to schoolchildren on these dark mornings and evenings. I appeal to all concerned before Sunday night to come to this new conciliation conference and to try to work out a solution to this complex issue involving the medical profession, the workers and the management of CIE.
Mr. G. Mitchell: Would the Minister agree that the employees in CIE have a genuine grievance? Would he further agree that industrial relations in CIE are  poor because of the poor morale among workers caused by the poor leadership which CIE are getting from the Department of Tourism and Transport in relation to their function in society?
Mr. S. Brennan: I cannot comment on the right or wrong of the grievance. It would not be helpful for me to do so while I am asking all sides, with the Minister for Labour, to come to a conciliation conference before Sunday night so that the public can be spared a widespread breakdown in public transport services. It is not an issue I would dodge and I would be prepared to debate public transport on any occasion. It would not be helpful now, given the complexity of the issue to comment on whether any party have a grievance. The Deputy does not expect me to admit that there is any lack of leadership from the Department of Tourism, Transport and Communications. I maintain there is plenty of leadership.
Mr. Byrne: Given the frightening prospect of a rail and bus strike in the middle of winter affecting schoolchildren, workers and commuters, would the Minister undertake that if the Labour Relations Commission fail to arrive at a satisfactory formula tomorrow he and the Minister for Labour will take some time off from other deliberations and make themselves available as intermediaries in trying to arrive at a satisfactory solution?
Mr. S. Brennan: The Minister for Labour and I will keep in touch with the position throughout the weekend. Both of us will do everything possible to avoid what could be a difficult period for users of public transport. Given the time of year, this is not a good time to ask the public to do without public transport. I appeal, on behalf of all Members of this House, for the success of the conciliation conference.
Mr. Boylan: Let private enterprise do the job.
An Ceann Comhairle: I wish to advise the House of the following matters in respect of which notice has been given to me under Standing Order 20 (3) (a) and the name of the Member in each case: (1) Deputy Pat McCartan — the case of a Liberian national in prison custody here since 25 June 1991 and the need for the Minister for Justice to release him from detention; (2) Deputy Proinsias De Rossa — in the context of the discussion at the Social Affairs Council of the EC on the protection of pregnant women at work, that Ireland should agree to pay the equivalent net wages for women during the 14 weeks of maternity leave; (3) Deputy Eric Byrne — the proposed strike by CIE workers from Monday, 11 November 1991; (4) Deputy Bill Cotter — the continued closure of Border roads, the inconvenience to people living in Border areas and the prevention of intercommunity concourse; (5) Deputy Michael D. Higgins — the efforts which the Irish Government has made or will make to eliminate the surrogate representatives of Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge war criminals from such fora as are part of the Cambodian peace initiative and the arrangements which will succeed its signing; (6) Deputy Roger Garland — the failure of the Government to ensure proper regulation of the investment  industry which has led to the loss of millions of pounds by small investors in recent years.
I have selected for discussion the matters raised by Deputies Cotter, Michael D. Higgins and De Rossa.
Question again proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time”.
Mr. Blaney: Before questions I had begun to speak of my abhorrence of what is contained in this Bill. My thoughts are not as collected as they might be because I was informed very concisely and clearly by the Chief Whip as recently as last Thursday that these Bills would not be dealt with for two or three weeks. I was amazed, with other commitments already in train, to find that debate had already commenced. I have no doubt that I can and will cover all the aspects which disturb me but the chronology and sequence may not be all that they should be.
On looking through the Bill and the explanatory memorandum I note that the lands, properties and buildings, together with liabilities, will be transferred and vested in the new regime which will be a governing body with an academic council, a new animal brought in to be a director. At the same time there is the strange twist that all and any of the transferred property and lands will still be held in trust by the vocational education committee. To what purpose? If they are not fit to hold them as they are at present, why should they be vested in the new body and at the same time held in trust by the body which obviously the Minister does not trust to hold them at present?
There are many anomalies. Perhaps I should challenge the Minister to justify her finding that the present position is unsatisfactory and to tell us before the Bill is passed what benefits the legislation will provide for our student body or for the regions. What does the State hope to gain? There is an obligation on the Minister to answer that challenge, to say what  is wrong with the existing position and to state what additional benefits will accrue from the changes proposed in the Bill. It is unbelievably difficult to understand why the Minister finds this Bill so necessary and urgent that she has introduced it against the background of a promised education Bill, with the need for which nobody disagrees. The measures contained in this Bill form only part of what a comprehensive Bill of this kind should contain. Apart from the Minister or, to be more precise, the Department of Education, who wants this Bill?
This Bill was not the sole idea of the Minister. It was foreshadowed in a Green Paper issued by the previous Minister for Education, Gemma Hussey. That proposal was circulated for consideration at that time but because it did not get a great welcome it was hidden away. However, this Bill has now been thrown hastily into the arena without any reference to a comprehensive education Bill. The measures proposed in this Bill should form part of a comprehensive education Bill and not stand alone.
The Bill provides that the new governing body shall consist of 15 members plus a chairman and director. Apart from the director, all members of the board will be appointed by the Minister on the recommendation of the vocational education committee. However, only six members may be chosen by the vocational education committee. This is the kind of sleight of hand to which I strenuously object. The Minister should not say that the members of the board will be appointed on the recommendation of the vocational education committee if only six members will be appointed on their recommendation. The other members will be designated by various bodies.
The management committee of which I am a member asked both the present Minister for Education and the previous Minister for Education for permission to appoint a representative of the teaching staff of the regional technical college, a representative of the non-teaching staff, of the regional technical college and a member of the student body to their  board. We sought this right for many years. As the Minister knows, the board of management of which I am a member is confined to 12 members. An inspector from the Department, the chief executive officer of the vocational education committee and the principal of the college were designated as members of the board. We sought three additional members in order to have representation — this is what the Bill now proposes — from the various sectors within the college. This Bill is more about words than sense. As I said at the outset, if all the paraphernalia was left out the proposals in this Bill would fit on one page.
Since their inception all colleges have been answerable to the vocational education committees within whose jurisdiction they operate. Despite the Department's lack of appreciation of the work done by them, these colleges have been successful. Will things be different in the future? Will the new governing body receive special treatment which has been denied to management boards over the years? Will they get the money we were refused? Will they be able to build colleges big enough to accommodate all students who want to attend them? I do not think there is anything in the Bill which obliges the Minister, the Department or the Government to provide the wherewithal to the people running these colleges to enable them to do this, no more than there is any obligation on them at present to give sufficient money to these colleges.
The management board of the regional technical college in Letterkenny and the vocational education committee in Donegal town, of which I have been a member for over 20 years, have repeatedly sought — we are not alone in this — permission from the Minister and her Department to engage in meaningful research and development. The Minister has provided in the Bill that research and development, as if it was some new toy she has found, may be carried out subject to what she thinks they should research and develop. That is the way things stand  at present. Since she took up office the Minister has not listened to the requests made by boards of management, such as the management board of the Donogh O'Malley regional technical college in Letterkenny, even when they have submitted details on how research and development can be properly controlled and insured. We got no whimper of encouragement or response to our repeated requests. Yet, like a rabbit out of a hat, the Minister is providing in this Bill for something which has been neglected for many years. It is dishonest to put it that way. The Minister should at least have acknowledged that the restriction imposed on research and development was not the fault of the management boards as presently constituted.
I want to refer to the value of regional colleges to towns such as Galway, Cork, Donegal, Tralee, Carlow and Waterford. If these colleges are located in remote areas they are of more benefit not just to the students who have been attracted to attend them because of the variety of courses they offer but also to the surrounding regions. I was a member of the same Government as Donogh O'Malley and was very friendly with him. I know he intended that regional technical colleges would offer non-academic students and students who cannot attend colleges, because of the high costs, an opportunity to get a third level education in their own regions. He set up these colleges on a regional basis because he knew that by bringing together the expertise of the teaching staff he was providing something that a region such as Donegal could never attain by itself and also ensuring that local communities would be able to avail of developments which would be to their benefit. That was the second great motivation behind the establishment of the colleges by the late Donogh O'Malley.
The Minister is moving away from that concept by centralising the control of these colleges — so much for the lip service paid to decentralisation and the need to restore and enhance the authority of locally elected people. It is a slap in  the face to the local elected councils. They provide you with your vocational education committee, who in turn delegate the functions of management of the Regional Technical Colleges to a management board who have succeeded amazingly well, despite all the difficulties encountered and which have been placed in their way by the very Department that should have been helping them. This is the reverse of decentralisation, the reverse of giving a say to the local elected representatives in operating what is best for them as they know best. Who is to say that a governing body will be appointed by the Minister, not by the vocational education committee? At present the management boards are appointed by the vocational education committee who owe their existence to the elected county councils. No longer will the emphasis necessarily be on local development, even in regard to the prescribing of courses we would seek to provide in our regional colleges, courses with a regional aspect. A speaker earlier referred to various courses which were peculiar to the areas in which the college existed, one being the fisheries course developed over several years which we have established successfully in the regional college in Letterkenny.
This kind of regional need may not be in the minds of the new governing body. In any case the new governing body, despite coming first, will be only second to the academic council in the choice of subjects and courses. The majority of the academic council — no number has been specified — must be drawn from the academic teaching staff of the college in question. There is one other stipulation: one student must be on it. That academic council, as I read this Bill, will by and large, lead the governing body by the nose so far as prescribing courses is concerned and will not necessarily reflect the expertise which has been brought in from all over the place to Letterkenny, They are newcomers, they are not of the community, but they are becoming part of it. Who knows better what suits the community than those directly responsible to  the elected local body, the county council, the vocational education committee and the management board, instead of this high-falutin' nonsense about a governing body, all of whom will be appointed by the Minister on the recommendation of the vocational education committee, who will have no teeth of any kind in the future. They have little at present; but whatever they have done under the provisions of the 1930 Act could have been enhanced by a few small amendments to that Act, leaving the colleges clearly under the control of the vocational education committees, than what that Bill will do.
Total control is going back to Marlborough Street because the colleges are a success. If they were not a success would anybody rush in here with a Bill such as this to have it centralised again? Despite the shortcomings of the professions in the law as a result of the reluctance of several Ministers to amend the law, the colleges have been successful and have served the community better. Does anybody believe that under this Bill things will be better, that our colleges will be more successful and that our local communities will be better and more quickly developed? I believe the reverse. I am sorry to say so, because our colleges are the best thing that have happened educationally in this country in my lifetime. They have been marvellous. It is wonderful to have in a place like Letterkenny the expertise that has been gathered there as a result of the appointment of 70 or 80 highly qualified lecturers who are second to none in any university or institution in this or any other country. We have lecturers in all disciplines and we could not have had that before the advent of the regional technical colleges. This could have been harnessed, but it has been prevented and stultified by the reluctance of the Department to give us a charter for research and development. It will now be done, but only with the consent of the Minister. We never got the consent. Will the governing body get it? Will it be any different next year or the year after if this goes through? Why should we go through with this unless we  are assured that a better job will be done in the future? Not the slightest evidence has been advanced by any advocate, including the Minister, I suggest that the new order of things will be an improvement. I am sure of one thing: that the cost to the taxpayer will increase, but I do not believe the service will improve, in fact I think the reverse will happen.
Under the heading of “functions of colleges” section 5 states:
The principal function of a college shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be to provide vocational and technical education and training for the economic, technological, scientific, commercial, industrial, social and cultural development of the State,...
It is significant that there is no mention of the regions. That, perhaps more than anything else, justifies what I am saying that this will be a loss to the regions rather than a gain.
I turn now to the boards, the academic council and the governing bodies. The most amazing thing is that no Member of the Seanad, the Dáil or the European Parliament may be a member of the governing body. What in the name of heavens has come over the Minister if she thinks there is merit in that? Who does she think she is? Where goes her provision that of the 15 members recommended by the vocational education committee only six may be nominated? But a Senator, a Dáil Deputy, an MEP, or anybody who is over 70 years of age may not be appointed. I wonder what would the old Chinese leaders we heard about a few weeks ago who are aged between 80 and 90, or those in Russia who also live to a great age, think about this new idea at a time when life expectancy is increasing by leaps and bounds due to medical advances. Yet we have a Minister for Education telling us that no MEP, no Member of the Seanad, no Member of the Dáil or anybody over the age of 70 may be a member of this governing body which she will appoint on the recommendation of the vocational education committee; designating for  them in advance where they are to come from. This is the sop that has been given to the vocational education committees. Another way of putting it would be: a kick in the behind with a bedroom slipper. That is what the vocational education committees are getting from this Minister. It is a case of upstairs downstairs.
This Minister is the one Minister who during my time has clearly given the idea that there are two levels in the educational establishment — that the vocational, technical schools are somewhat less than the secondary schools. It now appears that that is being carried into third level where the regional technical colleges, under the jurisdiction of the vocational education committees in the 1930 Act, must now be moved up a few steps. That is one of the motivations — subconscious, no doubt — of the present Minister for Education. The Minister should leave the regional colleges as they are. They are doing a wonderful job. If she moves them they will be neither fish, flesh, nor good red herring and our regions, our students and our country as a whole will be the poorer as a result of the nonsence being perpetrated in this Bill.
I will move on to some of the things that are daunting, if not frightening. Section 10 (3) says:
Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) the academic council shall have the following particular functions—
(a) to design, develop and implement courses of study in accordance with the programmes and budget approved annually under section 13 of this Act and consistent with the functions of the college;
What have the management boards, in association with the principal of the college, the chief executive officer and the top academic staff in the college, been doing over the years? What have they been doing according to the annual review of the National Council of Educational Awards, which goes on smoothly and usefully? The National Council for  Educational Awards is a success story in itself without which the graduates from our colleges would not have the standing they have. It is marvellous that that validation should have happened in a relatively short time and that our regional college graduates are valued across the water and are being sought after. We should praise the system for this, rather than demolish it, and replace it with a nonentity that will finish up with total control by Marlborough Street to the detriment of the colleges. The Minister should leave the management boards as they are and accede to the many requests for enlarged membership of those boards so that we can include as full designated members academic staff, non-teaching staff and students. We have been asking for that for a long time. Although the boards as they are have done a good job, they could do better. We have been prompting the Minister as to how they could do better by enlarging membership to embrace these people. In addition to a representative for the Minister by way of an inspector from the Department, the chief executive officer and the principal, we have a member from the trade union movement and a member from the chambers of commerce. Out of 12 there are five predesignated in our minds. Yet the Minister finds fault with that. The Minister wants to enlarge membership to 17. The Minister would not listen to us for years and now she is designating the very people we said we want to have on the board. Where is the Minister going and to what purpose?
There is another anomaly with regard to the selection board. Many times we have heard purely political mud slinging about appointments being made by non academic selection boards. It has been clearly demonstrated for generations, and certainly over the last 20 years so far as the regional colleges are concerned, that there is nothing wrong with the selections that have been made, people who have made such a marvellous success of the colleges. Nobody should get away with the snide remark to the effect that county councillors or vocational education  committee members would know nothing about the requirements for the appointment of a lecturer or a principal to a third level college. One would think that the people on county councils, and vocational education committees other local bodies, by virtue of the fact that they had been elected, are illiterate, that they know nothing and that one could just as well pick people off the street who have some letters after their names and that they would do a better job. This ignores the fact that many members of county councils and vocational education committees are highly qualified and have great experience in education and in administration. On every board of selection there is a representative from the Department, the chief executive officer and the principal as advisers. How can it be argued that there is justification for change in the system because the appointments are being made by gombeen men who do not know their arse from their elbow? This is the sort of thing we have to listen to. I am tired listening to it. The Minister should not go down that road. A good job has been done cheaply for years by the local representatives, including the TDs, the Senators and more recently the MEPs. In many cases in the country areas they are the only people who can afford the time required to give to the vocational committees, to regional technical college management boards to the selection boards and all that goes with it. Not everybody can afford the time, but elected people have put themselves forward and they do the job, sometimes to their own detriment. I wonder how this new outfit will work without TDs and Senators?
Is the abandonment of the appointment of TDs, Senators, MEPs and over 70s, who are all ga-ga according to this, a cop-out by the Minister, prompted by the Department because the Department would be much more comfortable when meeting a deputation if the TDs accompanying the members of the new governing board had no participation in the running of the college so that they would not know much one way or the  other and could be more easily got around? It must be very difficult for a Minister who is confronted by a deputation that may have waited for a year to be heard and is composed mainly of Deputies, Senators, county councillors and so on who know inside out the case they want to present to the Minister. One would expect that that would be helpful in finding the right solution. However, it looks as though there is a cop out at this stage, an effort to keep away local delegations would know what they are talking about. It seems we are to have people who do not know what they are talking about so that they can be talked down to by the Minister and-or her officials.
That seems to be the only purpose, because all logic tells me and, I am sure, every Member who has served on a local authority, a vocational education committee or any of these bodies, that these people can give more time than people who have to run a farm or a business. These people are available. Why should the new boards, the new governing bodies deny the contribution that Members of this House and the Seanad can make, not to speak of MEPs and the over seventies? I wonder what the Minister, if she is left here long enough, will do when she reaches 70. Will she opt out? Will she cease to be a Minister, cease to be a Deputy or not even try for the Seanad? If one is not fit for a governing body or the local regional technical college, one is certainly not fit to be a Minister, a Deputy, a Senator, or an MEP. Perhaps political euthanasia is coming to the fore.
I challenge the Minister to find out where the fault lies. I challenge her to deny the success that has attended the efforts of those who have given their time — the staff, members of the boards of management and the vocational education committees — over the last 20 years to establish a unique regional technical college system and of the NCEA without whom the reputation of the colleges would not have been enhanced in the estimation of those who employ our  graduates. They are owed a great debt.
What is the view of the National Council for Educational Awards? Has the Minister consulted them as to how they found the management boards they have had to deal with over the years and with whom they carry out annual reviews of the college courses and select courses for the following year? They look minutely at the attainments of graduates and the percentage who graduate from each course in one of our colleges. Did they say to the Minister that she should get rid of those gombeen men, the TDs, the Senators, the MEPs and anybody over 70? I swear they were never consulted in that regard, and if they were that is not the answer they gave. Who would know better? They are the people charged with evaluating the courses, their merit and value of the courses and the input of the courses they have to validate and on which they have done such a great job for over 20 years.
Up to now the vocational education committees have had the power to hire their teaching staff at second level. They do not have the power to fire them; that is reserved for the Minister. What is happening now? There will be a new selection board to be specified later. If some of their selections fall by the wayside, on the recommendation of the governing board, the vocational education committee, with the consent of the Minister, may propose to remove them. We have had two levels up to now with the vocational education committee hiring and recommending to fire. Now we will have the governing body recommending to the vocational education committee who, with the consent of the Minister, they may fire. What nonsense this is. Where are we going?
Nobody knows the problem better than the Minister, not only in the teaching world but in, for example, the State service. Some of the greatest difficulties encountered in regard to personnel is how one can reasonably and justly, get rid of staff who not only are not doing their job but who are, because of the manner in which they do not do their job, upsetting other members of staff and  students. The Minister knows this is a problem. She has discussed it with the unions over the years and, as yet, no answer has been found. Now we will have added one more tier to the pyramid. We will have a governing body and a vocational education committee who have no say in the matter, recommending to the Minister or getting her consent to get rid of somebody. It does not make sense. The Bill does not make sense.
I wonder if this Bill, brought to this House in these troubled and difficult times will receive adequate consideration by Deputies, particularly those of the Government parties, before Committee Stage. If and when there is a Committee Stage, will sufficient time be given or will we have, as it is not unusual, a guillotine motion that everything be put at a certain hour regardless of whether the merits of the amendments have been discussed? The Bill, if the Minister persists with it, will require such a myriad of amendments. It will take a long time to give those amendments a fair hearing and consideration. Will that time be provided for Members? I hope it will because so much needs to be changed that it would be easier to scrap the Bill and go for the 1930 Act. By a few small amendments we could streamline the present system somewhat and remove the strictures and restrictions that are on it. The result would be a better service. Let us not go along with this without an assurance and any evidence that it will improve things. That is perhaps the most important aspect.
I say to the Minister and, through her, to her Department that they should please have another think. Not all knowledge and wisdom in regard to education resides in Marlborough Street. Some of it does, and there is vast experience there. So far as knowledge and wisdom are concerned I suggest that what is good for the regions, the peripheral regions in particular, is known by our elected representatives on the local councils and not by the officials in Marlborough Street who would not attempt to deny that.
These colleges were set up to provide third level education for people who  could never aspire to it because of their circumstances. They were set up to attract those who had an aptitude towards the technological as distinct from the purely academic, but they were also set up to help to develop the regions they were placed in. They were the two aims. I speak from experience; I was there when they were set up, I knew the man who inspired their setting up, who had this great thought which was ultimately brought to fruition. These colleges were set up in an effort to develop the regions and to make third level technical education available there. Those were the two prime reasons and the knowledge we need reposes in the regions, not in Marlborough street.
The oft-preached decentralisation policy of all the parties in this House is being thrown in our face at the moment but this amounts to the centralisation of a very successful venture. In educational terms the colleges are only babes. They could be scarcely called that. They have had only 20 years to grow and mature but in my estimation, despite all their success, they are only beginning. Why should we stunt their growth by changing their foster mother? We should leave them in the arms of those who have nurtured them up to now, who know what is wanted and who have proved by their performance during the past 20 years, that they have the right ideas.
The Minister should give us the wherewithal, which has been denied to the boards and to the vocational education committees, to expand the colleges and to provide accommodation and equipment to help our students and staff. She should give us the authority and the structures so that we can carry out real research and development in an effort to create employment and retain life in the regions. What do they know about it in Marlborough Street and where will we be in 20 years from now if the new order is controlled, like a puppet on a string, from there? Why are they not satisfied with what they have? They should give us the wherewithal to do a better job for them and bask in the success of the regional technical colleges rather than  indicate to all the world, as they appear to be doing in this document, that they have to step in to take control as a bad job is being done? This is totally untrue.
I suggest to the Minister that she should give this Bill a rest, that she should concentrate further on the comprehensive Education Act, 1930, and think of the remedies she could provide us with under that Act so that we can carry out research and development. She should think of providing the few extra million pounds which would make such a difference to each of the colleges which are bursting at the seams. We can provide the places that she is crying out for. We have the students but not the accommodation. As I said, the Minister should give us the wherewithal to expand and continue the undoubted and wonderful success of the 20 years old regional technical colleges which were set up by the late Donogh O'Malley under the then Fianna Fáil Government. He must be turning in his grave and if he knew what was contained in the Bill I would not be surprised if he came up out of it.
Miss Coughlan: Coming as I do from the same county it will be difficult for me as a novice to follow the father of the House. However, as the baby of the House I will try to take over from him. The Bills before the House this afternoon, the regional technical colleges and the Dublin Institute of Technology Bills, will in part put the colleges on a par with and enable them to compete with all the other established third level institutions. When the regional technical colleges were first founded between 1970 and 1977 it was proposed that they would in the main provide post-compulsory technical education mainly in apprentice and technical training and technical leaving certificate courses. The regional technical colleges have fulfilled their role and have evolved over the past two decades to be first rate third level institutions providing certificate, diploma and degree courses. They have developed through encouragement and nurturing by the vocational education committees and they are now  considered by many of them to be the jewel in their crown.
Almost since their foundation the colleges have been arguing for greater autonomy and freedom to become involved in research and development, the thought of which in previous years instilled a fear in the National University of Ireland in that the regional colleges would obtain such autonomy and compete with universities for research and consultancies. The preclusion under the 1930 Act and the regulations made in 1970 to be involved with industry and participate in research and consultancies have at long last been overcome in the Bills before us this afternoon, a movement which I and many other Members of the House most heartily welcome.
There are many other aspects of the colleges Bills which I and County Donegal Vocational Education Committee welcome, namely, developed management functions and responsibility; financial accountability within the colleges; freedom to develop and expand college services and facilities; college responsibility for admissions policy; staff and student representation on governing bodies — as my colleague, Deputy Blaney has said, we in Donegal have been trying to obtain this for years through the board of management of the regional technical college — establishment of academic councils and some links with local democratic structures.
In applauding these developments in the Bills there are some concerns which County Donegal Vocational Education Committee and I must express and which I hope the Minister, when she comes to sum up, may be able to alleviate. If not we might come to some conclusions on Committee Stage. In my county the vocational education committee have played a distinguished and distinctive role in the development of two colleges over a period of 24 years. I refer to the Donogh O'Malley Regional Technical College in Letterkenny and the Hotel and Catering College in Killybegs. These colleges are situated 45 miles apart. The genesis, disciplines, orientation and focus of both colleges are quite distinctive and  very different. The disciplines within the regional technical college in Letterkenny are business studies, design, engineering and science while the hotel and catering college established by County Donegal Vocational Education Committee in 1967 has benefited from a single focus of providing training for the hotel and catering industry.
Under the County Donegal Vocational Education Committee the regional technical college has doubled its numbers and expanded rapidly with the provision of additional courses and has branched out into several satellite developments. There have been four such developments. We have what is known as the RTITC which provides information technology for the region. We have also had the honour of being allocated the star programme, with European Community moneys, in a joint venture with Telecom Éireann. This development has put County Donegal on the map and has helped to diminish the effects of peripherality which the industries of County Donegal and the north-west region suffer from.
We also have the Community Development Institute in Letterkenny which has been very successful in encouraging local communities to become more self-sufficient. There have been a number of very successful developments. At Convoy where the Woollen Mills have been closed down, the Community Development Institute have helped many of the workers to start up again and provide employment for themselves. The CRISP programme, the new Border region programme which is being funded in part by the European Community and the IFI, has also been nurtured by the Community Development Institute. In the next week or so we will be announcing another development under the CRISP programme at Pettigo.
The incubator units set up on regional technical college lands beside the existing building in a joint programme initiated by the college board of management and the Industrial Development Authority  form the third part of the satellite programme. Indeed, we have now commenced another programme with EOLAS. These incubator units, although they are not being utilised to the full in the region as yet, will be of tremendous benefit to small industries who would like to carry out some preparatory work to see if they could take off in the industrial sphere during the next few years. In Killybegs we also have the quality assurance laboratory which works very well with the fishing industry in the area. We were delighted that the vocational education committee, regional technical college and the Department of the Marine set up such a laboratory which has been welcomed by the fishing industry. It is hoped that we can progress beyond the fishing industry to food, mainly with the agricultural sector, in Donegal. All these developments under the umbrella of the regional technical college in Letterkenny were initiated by Donegal Vocational Education Committee. The thought process, push and nurturing were as a result of the efforts of the members of the vocational education committee and boards of management. It is feared that the tremendous work carried out over the last number of years by Donegal Vocational Education Committee will now be lost or centralised in Marlborough Street.
When we speak of research and development, my fear is that it will not be of benefit to the region in which the college is situated. I hope that the Minister on Committee Stage will give an assurance that there will be a system of checks and balances in the Bill so that research, development and consultancy will be specifically for the benefit of the region. It is only when that has been fulfilled it can go beyond the auspices of the region.
There has been considerable investment over the last number of years in the regional technical college in Letterkenny, indeed the development was so great that we are now bursting at the seams. It has been so bad that we have had to obtain sanction for temporary accommodation in the psychiatric  hospital in the area. However, that is not good enough, we really need additional funding to provide adequate facilities for the students in the regional technical college, Letterkenny. I heard my colleague, Deputy Theresa Ahearn, speak of library facilities earlier. If the position in Letterkenny pertains all over the country it proves that there is a crying need to provide proper facilities for students in regional technical colleges. The regional technical colleges should not be the lame duck of third level institutions; they deserve funding because they have achieved so much over the last number of years.
The developments about which I speak have made Donegal Vocational Education Committee, the local community and the industrial base very proud. The Hotel and Catering College, Killybegs, has been a resounding success with international distinction achieved through the untiring work of the staff, students, CERT and Donegal Vocational Education Committee. It is the only residential college in the country and it has the singular achievement of ensuring 100 per cent employment for all its students. I should like to thank the Minister and the Department for their continued investment in upgrading the facilities in that college. However, I emphasise the need to continue that investment as we are crying out for residential accommodation. I realise it is not an area in which the Department of Education have great powers but as Killybegs is the only residential college and has been so successful, it really deserves that type of investment. I hope there will be development of courses over the next couple of years and that the projected plans which the management of the Hotel and Catering College put to the Department will come to fruition.
Donegal have carried out joint ventures with Northern Ireland and it is fitting to compare the situation in Northern Ireland at present with our proposed situation under the two Bills. The relationship between local or regional administration and the higher education  colleges has been examined in Northern Ireland over the last number of years. This review was implemented under the Education Reform (Northern Ireland) Order, 1989, part of which outlines the duties of educational and library boards with respect to further education and the powers of boards with respect to higher education, making specific provisions for the management of institutions of further education, the further and higher education funding schemes, provisions relating to staff during financial delegation and withdrawal of delegated powers. Under the Northern Ireland order the partnership between the Department of Education, the educational library boards and the various colleges of further and higher education in relation to overall policy, regional management and operational freedom achieves the balance between the three partners involved and gives due emphasis to the role of each partner.
In the proposed legislation under the colleges Bill, the partnership between the Department of Education in respect of policy, the vocational education committee in respect of regional management structures and colleges as providers of services within the regions, will not be maintained in the Bill, as it is, in a balanced manner.
It is feared that the legislation marginalises the function of the vocational education committees and disrupts the existing partnerships. The role which prevously belonged to the committee will now be assumed by the Department and, as a consequence, it appears that the colleges will cease to be regional in anything but name. Regional influence, local accountability and encouragement have ensured that the development of the regional technical colleges has meant that they have developed. When these factors are removed I wonder if the colleges will grow and develop. I hope they will and I also hope that on Committee Stage we will ensure it will take place.
The proposed amalgamation of the Hotel and Catering College with the Donogh O'Malley Regional Technical College, Letterkenny, is one which  Donegal Vocational Education Committee vehemently oppose. The committee propose that the disciplines being developed in the college in Letterkenny should be further enhanced and that the single focus of the hotel and catering college in Killybegs should be continued. Such an approach would guarantee diversity, unity, flexibility, responsiveness, effectiveness and an appropriate partnership between the Department, the vocational education committee and the colleges in their operational autonomy.
Killybegs is a unique college and amalgamation would swamp it in the context of the overall third level educational sector. Such a proposal is as ludicrous as saying that the Shannon College of Catering should be amalgamated with the University of Limerick. I hope the Minister can give an assurance that this will not be the case and that the residential aspect, entry requirements and the special status of this college under the vocational education committee will not change. Education is an ever evolving element of society and there is greater emphasis today on third level education, a provision which has been encouraged by the Minister and which I whole-heartedly welcome. Donegal, unfortunately, does not have the singular honour of being the greatest attenders at third level institutions. However, I hope that with the nurturing and development of the colleges in the region, there will be tremendous developments as a result of amendments on Committee Stage.
Mr. G. Mitchell: I wish to thank Deputy Coughlan for allowing me possession, at least it will ensure that I will get an opportunity to continue when the Bill is again debated. I am pleased that there is a Bill before the House in relation to the Dublin Institute of Technology. The contents of the Bill, as the education spokesperson for Fine Gael has already pointed out, has certain weaknesses which I hope will be addressed on Committee Stage. However, in principle, the recognition of the Dublin Institute of  Technology as an institution is long overdue. I feel very stronly that it is past time for getting this recognition and on the next day I hope to develop this point and the question of third level education places generally in the Dublin region in which there is a special problem and a special case to be made. There are many issues in these Bills which need to be thrashed out. They are Bills which I wish to deal with in considerable detail but I will not have an opportunity to do so in the time available to me today.
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Bill Cotter gave me notice of his intention to raise the matter as to the continued closure of Border roads, the inconvenience to people living in Border areas and the preservation of inter-community concourse. The Deputy has five minutes to present his case and the Minister has five minutes to reply.
Mr. Cotter: I want to thank you, a Cheann Comhairle, for giving me the opportunity of raising this very urgent matter this evening. I am sure the Minister has had an opportunity to think about it and will give me a satisfactory response. The closure of Border roads protects nobody from terrorism. This action has taken away people's freedom of movement, has alienated communities and has played into the hands of terrorists. There should be a basic principle that every anti-terrorist action be carefully examined to assess its effect on the morale of the population at large. Will specific policies and actions alienate sections of the population? If so they should not be pursued. If such policies are in place they should be abandoned if they lead to disaffection.
I understand fully, coming from a Border constituency, how difficult it is to fight terrorism. However, policies and actions which alienate people and lead to  disaffection simply play into the hands of terrorists and subversive organisations. The closure of Border roads is one such example. It forces people to travel long distances to see relatives and friends who live just a short distance away. The same problem arises for people who have to tend stock on outfarms or indeed for people who want to buy goods in their local village. This policy — this is probably one very important aspect of it — prevents the intermingling of communities and therefore runs counter to the spirit of reconciliation which we in this House wish to foster. It is also obviously contrary to the principles of the EC Single Market, but above all it gives a pivotal role to subversives who offer leadership to the disaffected.
Every weekend groups of people take the law into their own hands and set about re-opening these roads. They are offered leadership by people who most assuredly do not support this House or our policies with regard to the difficulties in Northern Ireland. They are obviously getting support, albeit half hearted, from the local communities who are entirely disaffected by this policy. I am well aware that the alternative to closing Border roads is somewhat more expensive and might stretch the resources of the authorities North and South. However, the problem could be dealt with by introducing a system of intensive patrols along the Border. In that way many people who through no fault of their own find themselves in this position would not be disaffected by the lawful authorities and would be able to go about their business in the normal way. It would take out of the hands of the terrorists the position of leadership which they have managed to gain in this whole matter.
I would say to the Minister that this is a very urgent matter because there is considerable disquiet in Border areas with the continuation of this practice. For that reason I am very glad that the Ceann Comhairle gave me the opportunity of raising the matter this evening. I hope the Minister will be able to offer some indication that he and the Government  will do all in their power to try to redress the problem.
Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs (Mr. Calleary): I would like to thank Deputy Cotter for raising the matter this evening and I have noted his very constructive comments carefully.
The Government are fully aware of the difficulties caused for local communities along the Border by closed cross-Border roads and have every sympathy for people whose daily lives are disrupted by these measures. Last May I visited County Leitrim where I saw for myself the practical problems faced by local communities as a result of closed roads and heard the views and frustrations of a wide range of local people on the matter. I reported my findings to the Minister, who, in his capacity as Joint Chairman of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference, has repeatedly raised the question of closed Border roads with the British authorities at meetings of the conference and through the Anglo-Irish Secretariat in Belfast, where the matter is the subject of detailed and ongoing consideration.
While there is undoubtedly a strong case for reopening closed Border crossings, it must be borne in mind that there are serious security considerations arising from the continuing campaign of violence which make it difficult to make progress on this issue. Deputy Cotter will be aware of the recent attempted “human bomb” attack on the British Army checkpoint at Annaghmartin which would undoubtedly have caused serious loss of life and destruction had it succeeded. I am sure Deputy Cotter will join with me in condemning this and other similar IRA attacks which show an utter disregard for human life. Such attacks inevitably place added obstacles in the way of our efforts to secure the reopening of closed Border crossings.
Attacks of this kind make it necessary to weigh the security considerations carefully against the negative economic and social effects of the crossings remaining closed. It is, of course, the general public, as Deputy Cotter rightly pointed out, in  Border areas who have suffered most as a result of these IRA attacks and of the measures such as closed roads and permanent vehicle checkpoints, which the British authorities have taken in response to the security threat.
While we all appreciate the need for appropriate security measures, the Government are also concerned that law abiding members of the public on both sides of the Border should suffer the minimum inconvenience as a result of these measures. As I have already pointed out, the Minister has raised these difficulties repeatedly with the British authorities with a view to ensuring that the views of local communities are taken into account in their consideration of these matters.
I understand that the British authorities are keeping the situation under review and I would like to assure Deputy Cotter that the Government will continue to draw attention, through the mechanism of the Anglo-Irish Conference, to the problems experienced by people in Border areas and to their views on particular road closures. We will also continue to urge that road closures should only be maintained where there are the most persuasive security reasons for doing so. Again I assure Deputy Cotter that I have taken careful note of his suggestions.
Mr. M. Higgins: The Minister, speaking to the House on the previous occasion when we raised the issue of Cambodia, acknowledged the interest of the Irish people in the tragic situation in Cambodia. At that time he said there had been about 80 communications with the Department on the matter but I believe that several thousands of people have written letters to Members of this House and to the Department expressing their concern about the tragic events in Cambodia. My reason for raising this matter again is very simply that the signing of the United Nations initiated peace treaty in Paris on 23 October has not solved the  problems of Cambodia. I do not think the Minister is under any misapprehension concening that. There are, however, a number of very specific points on which I would like him to express an opinion.
First, it seems to me that the case for an Irish mission to Cambodia is unanswerable. The complexity of the problems which follow on from the implementation of the much needed peace initiative requires first hand information. On the previous occasion the Minister said that he found that he was adequately briefed by his fellow members of the EC, by UN agencies, and by non-governmental organisations among others. I suggest there is a case for an Irish mission and if one wants to see the justification for it one need only reflect on the strategy being taken by other countries, other than ourselves who have sent missions. I urge the Minister to make up his mind now to agree to send one.
There is a disturbing reality involved as well. While in the formal provisions for peace guarantees from the candidates in terms of both their personal participation and the manifestos that would be used in such an election are a formal requirement, the reality is as described by John Pilger in the London Independent immediately following the signing of the Paris agreement. He makes the point that even in Site Eight, which is a model camp, the Khmer Rouge have been seen entering the camp with arms. It has been established also internationally not only by Mr. Pilger but by other journalists that members of the camp are being coerced to move to zones where they can be of most electoral support to the Khmer Rouge. In addition, of course, there is nothing like the orderly return to their homelands of the people who have been occupying the camps. The figure for injuries, even death, of the people travelling over mine-filled roads is about 1,000 per month. I suggest that the formal guarantees are insufficient and the conditions that have been made are difficult to fulfil. What one is facing in reality — and this is the third point I wish to make — is the crippling of aid because of the budgetary cuts in the specific United  Nations body responsible for aid to the camps and a shortage of aid and adequate assistance with the logistics of delivering the aid within Cambodia. For example, the collapse of the Russian aid will create the greatest distress for the entire Cambodian population. I would like the Minister to reply to that point.
As further evidence, the refugees in Site Eight had elected their own civilian leaders but they have been thrown out and replaced by those who were considered more loyal to the Khmer Rouge. What one sees, therefore, is a quiet reorganisation of those who have been involved directly or indirectly in genocide and clear preparation by them to return demand and hold power. There is complete misconstruction of the movement of people to civilian areas. It has been suggested, for example, that the people in welcoming the peace process have decided to return home to get ready for the elections. However, what is happening is quiet regular coercion.
In his response I would like the Minister to concentrate his remarks on (a) my request that a mission be sent to Cambodia and (b) on the question of how the Irish Government view the implementation of the peace accord in the coming weeks which are crucial.
Mr. Calleary: I am happy to be afforded this opportunity to address the House on the recent very important developments with regard to Cambodia. I should like to tell Deputy Higgins that, of course, I will put his view that an Irish mission visit Cambodia to the Minister but, as he will appreciate, I cannot give him an answer to that.
As the House will be aware, agreements on a comprehensive political settlement of the Cambodia conflict were signed in Paris on 23 October 1991, and entered into force with immediate effect. These agreements were signed by all the parties to the Cambodian conflict as well as by 18 other countries, including the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, who initiated  the negotiation process with the elaboration of a framework agreement in August 1990. This framework was endorsed by the Security Council in its Resolution 668 of 20 September 1990 and acclaimed by the General Assembly on 15 October 1990 as the basis for a comprehensive political settlement.
We have always firmly believed that a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement would have to be based on the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cambodia. We have also insisted on the absolute right of the Cambodian people to determine their own destiny, free from outside interference, and that the exercise of this right should be based on the holding of internationally-supervised free and fair elections. And, of course, we have consistently stated that any settlement should ensure that the people of Cambodia are never again subjected to the inhuman and barbarous policies which they endured under the Pol Pot regime.
In the Government's view, the settlement which has now been signed embodies the principles which I have just outlined. We have welcomed it. The settlement has also been welcomed by the international community generally. It has received the full support of the UN Security Council in its Resolution 718, adopted unanimously on 31 October. As Deputies are aware, we have always wanted to see a strong role for the United Nations in any settlement. I am pleased that an enhanced role has now been given to the United Nations and I believe it has sufficient powers and authority to carry out its mandate.
Central to the settlement is the right of the Cambodian people to determine their own political future through internationally-supervised free and fair elections. The United Nations has a special role in this respect. It will have responsibility for ensuring a neutral political environment in which such elections can take place.
In order to ensure this, the proposed United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) will have under its direct supervision or control all those  administrative agencies, bodies and offices which could directly influence the outcome of elections. It will be responsible for confirming that political parties and candidates meet established criteria in order to qualify for participation in the election. That may help to allay some of the fears expressed by Deputy Higgins. The United Nations will also have responsibility for certifying the results of the elections.
The world was justifiably shocked by the outrages perpetrated on the Cambodian people by the Pol Pot regime. The Irish people over the years have made known, as Deputy Higgins quite rightly said, their depth of feeling at these horrors. From the beginning, therefore, the fundamental objective of the international community has been to achieve a settlement ensuring that there would be no return to the genocidal policies and practices of the past.
The principles for a new constitution for Cambodia are explicit and categorical on the protection of human rights and on the fundamental values on which the new constitutional order will rest. In particular, they provide for a declaration of fundamental rights consistent with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant international instruments. The United Nations Human Rights Commission will also continue to monitor the human rights situation in Cambodia.
As a further guarantee, the agreements grant signatories the right to call upon the competent organs of the UN in the event of violations of any of the obligations under the agreements, including serious human rights violations, to take such steps as are appropriate for their prevention and suppression. In effect, this gives the international community a permanent role in the monitoring and protection of human rights in Cambodia.
I appreciate that people in Ireland may nonetheless have concerns about the participation of the Khmer Rouge in the settlement. I understand these concerns. However, those involved in the long and difficult process of negotiation, and these include the permanent members of the  UN Security Council, believe that to have excluded any one of the parties would have undermined the prospect of a comprehensive political settlement. Furthermore, to have excluded any party would also have seriously compromised any settlement reached. This was recognised by the Cambodian parties themselves.
As part of the settlement it was agreed that there should be a Supreme National Council (SNC), a body which would enshrine the sovereignty, independence and unity of Cambodia during the transitional period. The parties agreed that the Supreme National Council should reflect all opinion in Cambodia and should represent Cambodia in international fora. In this capacity a Supreme National Council General Assembly has been accepted at the current session of the UN General Assembly as representing Cambodia.
The settlement deserves the fullest possible moral and political support of the international community and the Government are considering what steps they might take in assisting in this regard.
Ireland has been formally requested by the UN Secretary-General to participate in the United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC) and I am pleased to announce that the Government have agreed to provide two members of the Defence Forces to serve with this mission.
Furthermore, I believe that a crucial factor in assisting the peace process will be the reconstruction and development of Cambodia. We are therefore urgently examining with our partners in the Community how best we can respond to the immediate and longer term needs of Cambodia.
I can assure Deputy Higgins that the Government will remain vigilant to ensure that the settlement is fully implemented, so that the Cambodian people can look forward to a secure, peaceful and democratic future, and begin to rebuild their country.
Proinsias De Rossa: Yesterday the EC Council of Ministers came to an agreement on maternity pay which seriously threatens levels of pay for women on maternity leave and emphasises starkly how the social dimension is being disregarded by governments in many member states. The formula agreed provides a guarantee of 14 weeks' maternity benefit at the level of sick pay prevailing in each member state.
Maternity payments here are currently set at 70 per cent of reckonable weekly earnings, with a minimum of £76 and a maximum of £154. Sick pay, on the other hand, is set at just £50 plus a maximum additional amount of £17.40 in payrelated payments on a wage of £220 a week. If the “letter” of last night's agreement is applied here, women would face maternity rate cuts of between £8.60 and £86.60 a week.
I note that the Commission has sought and been given assurances that matenity rates will not be reduced in member states where they are higher than the new formula. But we have seen in the past the ability and the willingness of Irish Governments to twist the meaning of EC directives, most notably the Equality Directive of 1986. The Minister must give a categoric assurance to the House that no cuts will be implemented in maternity payments.
Of course, regardless of any assurances the Minister may give, this is a disgraceful agreement. First, maternity pay should not be linked to illness. As EC Commissioner Vaso Papandreou stated recently in opposing that formula, pregnant women are usually very healthy women.
The European Commission originally proposed that maternity allowances be allowed at 100 per cent of net salary. When this was rejected the Commission indicated a willingness to accept an Italian and Danish compromise proposal of 80 per cent of net salary. But this was also rejected. I should like the Minister to clarify exactly what position the Irish Govenment took in these negotiations.  It was unfortunate, though perhaps highly convenient, that no ministerial representative from Ireland attended the vital discussion on this matter on 14 October last.
While we have seen major rows in Brussels involving the Minister for Agriculture and Food on reductions in agricultural subsidies, the Government would appear to have allowed this scandalous decision to be made without any objection. More important, the decision will undoubtedly be used by the Government here as a reason to refuse increased maternity payments to the norm in most other EC states. We will be left languishing with Britain at the bottom of the pile. Six member states of the Community pay more on maternity leave than we in Ireland do. Can the Minister say if it is intended to increase the Irish rate to approximate the average in those countries, or indeed if it is intended to remain at the levels set during the Thatcherite years in Britain?
On the question of the non-pay side, there are clearly a number of positive elements to the Directive, including time off for antenatal examinations, provision for transfer of pregnant women to alternative duties and removing the qualification threshold for women workers. However, I ask the Minsiter to indicate exactly when enabling legislation will be brought forward on these issues and when it is intended to implement them.
Minister for Labour (Mr. B. Ahern): I thank Deputy De Rossa for giving me the opportunity to say some words on this subject. At a meeting of the Social Affairs Council held in Brussels yesterday, political agreement was reached on a draft Directive on the protection of pregnant workers. The Directive covers the three stages from conception to maternity leave, maternity leave and returned to work but breastfeeding. In addition to the 14 weeks maternity leave to which pregnant workers are already entitled, the Directive provides further protection for pregnant workers.
There are many areas covered by the Directive and I do not think time will  allow me to detail them all, but the main ones are as follows: First, where the results of a risk assessment, provided for in the Directive, reveal that a pregnant or breastfeeding woman's job may endanger her health and safety, the employer shall adjust her working conditions and her working hours. If this cannot be done there is provision for transfer to alternative duties. If adjustment of working conditions or transfer to another job is not possible, the worker is to be granted leave for the whole of the period necessary to protect her safety and health.
Second, assurance that pregnant workers are not assigned to night work during pregnancy — or for a period after the confinement, to be determined nationally — where it is medically certified that this is necessary for the safety and health of the workers. The alternatives to night work are a transfer to day work, special leave from work, or extension of maternity leave. Third, prohibition of dismissals for reasons related to their condition from the beginning of the pregnancy to the end of maternity leave and reversal of the burden of proof where dismissal takes place. Fourth, time off for antenatal examination without loss of pay if such examinations have to take place during working hours.
I point out to Deputy De Rossa that that does not relate to non-pay because that is a substantial improvement in that the present position for the entitlement of women to have time off in our legislation, which is not included in the legislation of several other countries, is that they have to forego their own payment rights. If women were making a monthly or a weekly visit — and medical evidence shows that the visits would be monthly for several months and weekly for perhaps the remaining four to six weeks — they would now be entitled to make those visits without loss of pay. Thus, it is not a non-pay issue.
In relation to payment during the 14 weeks maternity leave, under the current social security maternity benefit scheme, women in employment are guaranteed 70  per cent of gross pay subject to a minimum payment of £76 and a maximum payment of £154 per week. This level of payment, together with any tax rebates which the woman is entitled to, ensures that she receives about 100 per cent of net pay during her 14 weeks maternity leave. In line with entitlement to all social security benefits, this entitlement is subject to meeting certain eligibility criteria. which basically require that the woman has been working for 39 weeks in the 12 months before the birth of the child.
The Directive which was discussed at the Social Affairs Council yesterday requires that subject to national eligibility conditions the worker would receive payment at least in line with that which she would receive if she were sick. This Directive confirms the rights of pregnant workers to a social security payment. I am happy to be able to assure the House that at present the Irish social security system treats pregnant women more favourably than social welfare recipients. Pregnant workers' entitlements are therefore already well in excess of the minima laid down in this Directive.
Deputy De Rossa asked me about the Government's position on the possibility of decreases. Again, I wish to make it clear that this matter has been debated for over a year. There were six or seven meetings and the meeting of 14 October was held to tidy up the draft for finalisation yesterday. It was not by any means the key meeting. The Social Questions Group, COREPER and all the other committees have been dealing with this issue as well, because it is a substantial part of the Social Charter and provides a substantial improvement when all the conditions are taken together.
The answer to the question of whether there can be deductions is no. Article 23 originally stated that there could not be deductions. That was amended yesterday to bring it in as part of the Directive, rather than being on the periphery of the Directive, I think, to cover his very point — which is a valid point — that the Directive could not be interpreted with a side agreement. An amendment was made  yesterday to make it clear that no national government could interpret the Directive to reduce anybody's entitlement.
In relation to the other specific question asked by Deputy De Rossa, as I said yesterday at the end of the Council meeting, the Government would now look at our legislation, particularly in relation to unfair dismissals and maternity protection. As legislation is amended we shall give consideration to the provisions. The Directive states that that must be done within two years. I am at an advanced stage with the Unfair  Dismissals legislation anyway, so that will be considered immediately. It would make no sense to wait for two years. The position is the same with legislation in relation to conditions of employment, which is being reviewed within the Department.
A substantial step forward has been made. The agreement improves the position and will certainly give workers in many industries protection that they have not had. No one can be in a worse position in relation to pay.
The Dáil adjourned at 5.30 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Friday, 8 November 1991.
11. Mr. McGahon asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposals in the Luxembourg draft EC Treaty revision to introduce qualified majority voting, instead of unanimity, in the EC Council of Ministers in regard to each of the following (a) energy (b) trans-European networks (c) competitiveness of industry (d) tourism (e) consumer protection (f) health protection (g) civil protection (h) culture and (i) development co-operation.
17. Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposals in the Luxembourg draft EC Treaty revision to introduce qualified majority voting, instead of unanimity, in the EC Council of Ministers in regard to each of the following (a) energy (b) trans-European networks (c) competitiveness of industry (d) tourism (e) consumer protection (f) health protection (g) civil protection (h) culture and (i) development co-operation.
18. Mr. Crowley asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposals in the Luxembourg Draft Treaty on the Union of the European Community that there be unanimous voting in regard to proposals concerning the system of own resources of the European Communities.
21. Mr. Lowry asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposals in the Luxembourg Draft EC Treaty revision to introduce qualified majority voting, instead of unanimity, in the EC Council of Ministers in regard to each of the following (a) energy (b) trans-European networks (c) competitiveness of industry (d) tourism (e) consumer protection (f) health protection (g) civil protection (h) culture and (i) development co-operation.
30. Mr. Cosgrave asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposals in the Luxembourg Draft Treaty on the Union of the European Community that there be unanimous voting in regard to proposals concerning the system of own resources of the European Communities.
52. Mr. D'Arcy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposals in the Luxembourg Draft Treaty on the Union of the European Community that there be unanimous voting in regard to proposals concerning the system of own resources of the European Communities.
82. Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposals in the Luxembourg draft EC Treaty revision to introduce qualified majority voting, instead of unanimity, in the EC Council of Ministers in regard to each of the following (a) energy (b) trans-European networks (c) competitiveness of industry (d) tourism (e) consumer protection (f) health protections (g) civil protection (h) culture and (i) development co-operation.
88. Mr. Doyle asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the Dutch Presidency proposals to the Intergovernmental Conference on European Political Union in relation to changes in the voting procedures used in the Council of Ministers.
96. Mr. Finucane asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposals in the Luxembourg Draft Treaty on the Union of the European Community that there be unanimous voting in regard to proposals concerning the system of own resources of the European Communities.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I propose to take Questions Nos. 11, 17, 18, 21, 30, 52, 82, 88 and 96 together since they have been put down  in similar and in some cases identical terms.
The efficiency and the effectiveness of the Community and its Institutions has been one of the themes running through the negotiations on Political Union. One of the most direct ways of improving the efficiency of decision-making process would be to extend, wherever possible, the use of qualified majority voting in Council of Ministers. However, the negotiations on the voting procedures to be used in the Council of Ministers are still continuing in the Intergovernmental Conference and I will not prejudge the outcome of this issue by commenting on individual areas.
Ireland is willing to study proposals for an extension of qualified majority voting on a case by case basis.
12. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if there are any occasions on which Irish laws on Constitutional provisions have been found to have been in conflict with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom; and if so, whether Ireland's discretion in these matters is likely to be reduced by the proposal in the Luxembourg draft revision of the Treaty of Rome which will bring the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms into the provisions of the European Communities Treaty.
33. Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if there are any occasions on which Irish laws or constitutional provisions have been found to have been in conflict with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom; and if so, whether Ireland's discretion in these matters is likely to be reduced by the proposal in the Luxembourg draft revision of the Treaty of Rome which will bring the European Convention of the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom into the provisions of the European Communities Treaty.
64. Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if there are any occasions on which Irish laws on constitutional provisions have been found to have been in conflict with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom; and if so, whether Ireland's discretion in these matters is likely to be reduced by the proposal in the Luxembourg draft revision of the Treaty of Rome which will bring the European Convention of the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom into the provisions of the European Communities Treaty.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I propose to take Questions Nos. 12, 33 and 64, which are all in similar terms, together.
Since Ireland became a party to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in 1953 and at the same time accepted the right of individual petition in accordance with Article 25 thereof, there have been three occasions on which the European Court of Human Rights has found that Ireland did not comply with certain provisions of the Convention.
These findings concerned (i) the provision of fee legal aid in civil cases, (ii) the legal status, including the questions of illegitimacy and succession rights of a child born outside marriage and (iii) criminal sanctions in Irish law against homosexual acts.
The findings of the court in the first case were complied with by the introduction on an administrative basis in 1979 of the scheme of civil legal aid and advice. The findings of the court in the second case were complied with by the enactment of the Status of Children Act, 1987. In relation to the third case, proposals for appropriate legislation are under consideration.
The proposals in the Luxembourg draft revision of the Treaty of Rome merely  re-states what is the existing position of the Convention in Community law as enunciated on several occasions by the European Court of Justice, to the effect that the rights and freedoms as recognised in the Convention shall be respected. The proposal therefore will not change the obligations of the State vis-à-vis the Convention or the Government's commitment thereto.
13. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views in regard to the provisions of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community concerning the powers of the European Parliament in regard to (a) co-decision and co-operation with the European Council (b) the setting up of Committees of Inquiry (c) the appointment of an Ombudsman and (d) the introduction of a uniform procedure for elections to the European Parliaments in all member states.
24. Mrs. Owen asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the Dutch Presidency proposals to the Intergovernmental Conference on European Political Union in relation to measures to increase the powers of the European Parliament.
36. Mrs. Taylor-Quinn asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the establishment of an elected European Senate, similar to the US Senate, so as to ensure that small and peripheral EC States like Ireland have adequate representations in the parliamentary arm of EC institutions.
45. Mrs. Fennell asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views in regard to the provisions of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community concerning the powers of the European Parliament in regard to (a) co-decision and co-operation with the European Council (b) the setting up of Committees of Inquiry (c) the appointment of an Ombudsman and (d) the introduction of a uniform procedure for elections to the European Parliaments in all member states.
78. Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the establishment of an elected European Senate, similar to the US Senate, so as to ensure that small and peripheral EC States like Ireland have adequate representations in the parliamentary arm of EC institutions.
83. Mr. Noonan (Limerick East) asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views in regard to the provisions of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community concerning the powers of the European Parliament in regard to (a) co-decision and co-operation with the European Council (b) the setting up of Committees of Inquiry (c) the appointment of an Ombudsman and (d) the introduction of a uniform procedure for elections to the European Parliaments in all member states.
103. Mr. Enright asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views in regard to the provisions of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community concerning the powers of the European Parliament in regard to (a) co-decision and co-operation with the European Council (b) the setting up of Committees of Inquiry (c) the appointment of an Ombudsman and (d) the introduction of a uniform procedure for elections to the European Parliaments in all member states.
105. Mr. Sheehan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the establishment of an elected European Senate, similar to the US Senate, so as to ensure that small and peripheral EC States like Ireland have adequate representations in the parliamentary arm of EC institutions.
110. Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the establishment of an elected European Senate, similar to the US Senate, so as to ensure that small and peripheral EC States like Ireland have adequate representations in the parliamentary arm of EC institutions.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I propose to take Questions Nos. 13, 24, 36, 45, 78, 83, 103, 105, and 110 together since these questions relate to similar issues.
No proposal for an elected European Senate has been presented to the Inter-governmental Conference on Political Union. If such a proposal were made, we would consider its implications carefully.
The question of the democratic legitimacy of the future European Union has been one of the central concerns of the member states since the beginning of the present negotiations in the Inter-governmental Conference. The role of the European Parliament in the decision taking process has, quite rightly, been a major aspect of the negotiations. Ireland has recognised this and we have participated fully in the negotiations on a package of measures which we believe will allow the Parliament to play a greater role in the development of the Community and in the protection of the interests of its citizens.
We have therefore been prepared to agree to the formalisation of the Parliament's rights of inquiry and petition. We are also prepared to agree to Treaty language which will give Parliament the right to confirm the appointment of the Commission as a body. We have also welcomed the proposal to establish a Community ombudsman empowered to receive complaints from any citizen of the Union. We are also agreeable to giving the Parliament the right of assent in the adoption of a uniform procedure for elections to the European Parliament in all member states.
The negotiations on the possibility of giving the Parliament a right of co-decision with the Council in the legislative process have proved the most difficult aspect of the negotiations in this  area. At present negotiations are continuing on the mechanisms and scope of such a procedure and there is still some work to be done before an overall solution will emerge. Ireland is prepared to consider as part of the final and overall package a procedure which will permit a greater involvement by the European Parliament in decision making.
14. Mr. Doyle asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposed Committee of the Regions upon which Ireland would have nine seats in accordance with the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community; and the way in which Ireland's places on this body would be used.
73. Mr. Lowry asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposed Committee of the Regions upon which Ireland would have nine seats in accordance with the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community; and the way in which Ireland's places on this body would be used.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I propose to take Questions Nos. 14 and 73 together since they have been put down in identical terms.
The proposal to establish a Committee of the Regions stems primarily from a concern of Germany which wishes to provide a forum in which the views of the German Laender could be expressed on a range of Community issues.
The proposals, which is included in the Luxembourg Draft Treaty, has not yet been formally discussed within the Inter-governmental Conference.
As the Deputies are aware, for the purposes of Community policies, in particular the structural funds, Ireland is classified as one region. We are able to provide views on the operation of the regional policies of the Community in the Council of Ministers through our representatives in the European Parliament  and through the Economic and Social Committee.
The establishment of an additional body may help to further support the interests of the regions and we will consider the proposals in the Luxembourg Presidency's draft treaty very carefully. We will argue that it should be closely associated, as presently proposed, with the Economic and Social Committee and should have a consultative role. As regards the question of Irish representation, this is an issue which the Government will consider in the light of the outcome of the negotiations on the Committee of the Regions in the Inter-governmental Conference.
15. Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will confirm to (1) Dáil Eireann (2) our EC colleagues that Ireland intends to recognise the independence of Croatia and Slovenia; if he will urge our EC colleagues to do likewise; and if he will furthermore seek the imposition of sanctions against Serbia unless it ceases its aggression and withdraws to its own territory.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I believe that, on the question of a possible recognition of the independence of Croatia and Slovenia, it is essential to maintain the close cohesion which characterises the Twelve's approach to the Yugoslav crisis.
At their informal meeting in Haazuilens on 6 October, Foreign Ministers of the Twelve agreed that a political solution should be sought in the perspective of recognition of the independence of those republics wishing it, at the end of a negotiating process conducted in good faith and involving all parties. This continues to be the Community's position and I fully support it.
Negotiations between the Yugoslav parties are currently taking place in the Conference on Yugoslavia in The Hague, and on behalf of the Twelve, the Conference chairman, Lord Carrington, has  put forward proposals aimed at a general settlement. These include the acceptance of sovereignty and independence for those republics which wish it, a free association of the republics with an international personality, and a common state for those republics wishing to remain in one. These proposals have been accepted by all Yugoslav republics, with the exception of Serbia, as the basis for further negotiations. Any recognition of the independence of particular areas should come at the end of this process and in the framework of a general settlement.
The actions of Serbia and of the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) have gven rise to grave concern among the Twelve. They consider these actions, which include the Serbian position in the Conference, to be violations of principles previously stipulated by the Twelve and accepted by all the Yugoslav parties, including Serbia, as being fundamental for a solution: that there should be no unilateral change of borders, that human rights and the rights of ethnic and national groups should be fully protected, and that all legitimate aspirations should be fully taken into account.
These actions also include the usurpation of the authority of the Federal Presidency by the four pro-Serb members of that body and the announcement of a plan aimed at the establishment of a greater Serbia.
The Twelve view the statements and actions of the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) in the same light. They have strongly condemned the continuous JNA attacks on Croat cities. While ceasefire agreements have been violated by all parties, recent JNA attacks are out of all proportion to any non-compliance by Croatia. In particular, the repeated attacks on Dubrovnik have given the lie to the JNA assertion that its only aims are to relieve besieged garrisons and to protect Serbian communities.
Faced with this situation, Ministers of the Twelve on 28 October gave Serbia until 5 November to accept unequivocally the principles I have outlined and to continue negotiations on the basis of the draft arrangements put forward by Lord  Carrington. Failing that, the Community indicated that Serbia and other non-cooperative parties could expect restrictive measures to be taken against them by the European Community and its member states.
On 4 November, the General Affairs Council took decisions to enable restrictive measures to be imposed if that should prove necessary. These measures would include the suspension, with immediate effect, of the co-operation agreement between the Community and Yugoslavia, and its denunciation; the exclusion of Yugoslavia from the benefits of the Community's Generalised System of Preferences (GSP); and the formal suspension of Yugoslavia from the PHARE programme. It was agreed in principle that positive measures would be taken to ensure that co-operative republics were not prejudiced by these actions.
In addition, should it be considered necessary, the Twelve would raise with the Security Council the question of an oil embargo. Through the Security Council, the Secretary-General will be asked to examine the implementation of the existing arms embargo with a view to ensuring that it is respected.
Foreign Ministers of the Community are meeting in Rome to-morrow morning to hear Lord Carrington's report of Tuesday's plenary session of the Conference. In the light of that report and of the situation on the ground, they will consider whether to adopt the measures I have outlined. I will be urging at this meeting that the Community should take the joint action needed to ensure that the peace process can continue.
16. Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if any request, formal or informal, has been made by the EC for Ireland's participation in a Community security and-or defence force; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
22. Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the comments of Commissioner MacSharry that Ireland cannot opt out of a developing EC defence policy; and whether, if current developments continue, Irish neutrality will cease to be an issue.
42. Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he intends to participate in the Franco-German discussions for a European army; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
67. Mr. Cotter asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposals for a common foreign and security policy set out in the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community.
72. Mrs. Taylor-Quinn asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline the position he will be taking at future EC meetings in regard to the establishment of a European Defence System with particular reference on our position on European security at next months meeting in Maastricht.
92. Mr. Creed asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline the response which he will be making to the Franco-German initiative on a European army.
106. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposals for a common foreign and security policy set out in the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community.
112. Mr. McGrath asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposals for a common foreign and security policy set out in the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I propose to take Questions Nos. 16, 22, 42, 67, 72, 92, 106 and 112 together.
 The Treaties establishing the European Communities and European Political Co-operation do not entail any military or defence commitments and no such commitments were involved in Ireland's acceptance of these Treaties. The question of an approach by the European Community for Ireland's participation in a Community security or defence force does not therefore arise.
Ireland is however committed to the objective of a common foreign and security policy and is actively involved in the negotiations on this issue in the Inter-governmental Conference on Political Union. Our approach was outlined by the Taoiseach in his detailed statement to the Dáil on 9 July.
It is now accepted at the Conference that the proposed new chapter of the Treaty dealing with a common foreign and security policy should constitute one of the pillars of the Union but that it should not be incorporated directly into the traditional Community framework. We accept this approach as appropriate at this stage of the Community's development. We also accept the broad structure of this chapter which would: set out the objectives of a common foreign and security policy; establish systematic co-operation between member states in that context; gradually introduce joint action in areas where member states have important interests in common; and provide for closer co-operation on security issues in general.
We accept furthermore that the general guidelines for a common foreign and security policy should be set by the European Council; and that the definition and implementation of policy on the basis of these guidelines would be a matter for the General Affairs Council.
Although some progress has been made in defining objectives for a common foreign and security policy and on proposals to strengthen foreign policy co-operation, several important questions have yet to be settled. These include: the concept of a new, more binding form of co-operation on foreign and security policy to be called “joint action”; whether all decisions should be taken  by unanimity or whether some could be taken by majority vote; whether the Community should accept as an objective in the longer term the eventual framing of a common defence policy; in the interim, whether, and if so to what extent, the new Union should have links with the Western European Union (Western European Union).
I expect that the negotiations in coming weeks will focus on these issues.
On the issue of “joint action”, we have indicated our willingness to work on the concept which would involve more binding commitments on member states than European Political Co-operation. We are however concerned to ensure that the concept is clearly defined in the Treaty in regard to the areas and matters to be covered by joint action, the scope of such action and the decision-making mechanism to apply.
Our view is that in an area as sensitive as foreign and security policy, which would now be made the subject of joint action for the first time, decisions should be by consensus. However we do not rule out the idea of majority voting for limited implementing measures — if these can be clearly defined and if adequate safeguards in the decision-making mechanism can be built into the new Treaty.
On security and defence we have said that we will judge the issues in the light of the position of successive Irish Governments, that if the Community were to develop its own defence arrangements for its own security, then Ireland would consider participating. During the present negotiations we have advocated that the Union's role in the security area be extended gradually beginning with such issues as arms control, peace-keeping and the transfer of military technology. The prospect of a role for the Union in defence matters would be considered with a view to the future.
Some partners accept this approach. Others wish to go further and to include issues related to the defence of the Union in the new Treaty from the beginning.
A related issue is whether a link with the Western European Union might provide a way of establishing a framework  within which in due course a defence role for the Community might be developed. Some of the most difficult discussions within the Conference negotiations, and indeed in negotiations elsewhere on European security, have centred on this issue and on the various proposals advanced to deal with it.
In general the question of security and defence is one of the most sensitive in the Political Union negotiations and it is still not clear how the issue will be resolved. I expect that there will be intensive discussion on this in the weeks ahead leading up to the Maastricht European Council.
In a separate development in early October, President Mitterrand of France and Chancellor Kohl of Germany announced that they had jointly decided to strengthen Franco-German military co-operation beyond the existing joint brigade which they maintain in Germany. They suggested that the strengthened Franco-German force might in time become the nucleus of a European Corps to include the forces of other members of Western European Union. They also suggested that it might become the model for closer military co-operation between members of Western European Union.
The question of Franco-German military co-operation is, of course, a matter for those two countries. In so far as Western European Union is concerned, Ireland, as a non-member of Western European Union, is not party to decisions taken by that organisation.
Finally, I confirm that I have seen press reports of views attributed to Commissioner MacSharry. These are a matter for the Commissioner himself. I would add that it is always open to Mr. MacSharry, as a member of the Commission, to give his views on the direction of European integration and the implications for Ireland as he sees them.
19. Mr. Browne (Carlow-Kilkenny) asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the provisions in Title XIV and XV of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community in regard to industry and tourism in so far as the provisions in regard to industry impose a very firm obligation on the Community to ensure that certain things happen whereas the provisions in regard to tourism merely refer to the encouragement of co-operation; and his views on whether the provisions in regard to tourism should be strengthened.
25. Mr. Boylan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the provisions in Title XIV and XV of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community in regard to industry and tourism in so far as the provisions in regard to industry impose a very firm obligation on the Community to ensure that certain things happen whereas the provisions in regard to tourism merely refer to the encouragement of co-operation; and his views on whether the provisions in regard to tourism should be strengthened.
51. Mr. S. Barrett asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the provisions in Title XIV and XV of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community in regard to industry and tourism in so far as the provisions in regard to industry impose a very firm obligation on the Community to ensure that certain things happen whereas the provisions in regard to tourism merely refer to the encouragement of co-operation; and his views on whether the provisions in regard to tourism should be strengthened.
86. Mr. Bradford asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the provisions in Title XIV and XV of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community in regard to industry and tourism in so far as the provisions in regard to industry impose a very firm obligation on the Community to ensure that certain things happen whereas the provisions in regard to tourism merely refer to the encouragement of co-operation; and his views on whether the provisions in regard to tourism should be strengthened.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I propose to take Questions Nos. 19, 25, 51 and 86 together since they have been put down in identical terms.
The negotiations on future competences in the revised draft Treaty have not yet been completed. The texts on industry and tourism to which the Deputy refers are ones which have yet to be considered at ministerial level.
As regards the industry proposal, Ireland does not favour a specific article. Our view, at this stage and subject to a final package at the end of the negotiation, is that the Community has sufficient competences to ensure the development of an industrial policy. As far as tourism is concerned, and subject again to further negotiation in the Inter-governmental Conference, we feel that the proposal made by Luxembourg reflects the views of member states on the extent to which Community co-operation is possible in this area.
20. Mr. G. Reynolds asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposals in the Luxembourg Draft EC Treaty provisions which would allow the European Court to interpret EC agreements on visa policy and asylum policy and on matters of criminal law.
28. Mr. O'Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposals in the Luxembourg Draft EC Treaty revision which would allow the European Court to interpret EC agreements on visa policy and asylum policy and on matters of criminal law.
40. Mr. Noonan (Limerick East) asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposals in the Luxembourg Draft EC Treaty revision which would allow the European Court to interpret EC agreements on visa policy and asylum policy and on matters of criminal law.
68. Mr. McGrath asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the proposal in Article 235A of the Luxembourg Draft EC Treaty revisions which would allow the EC to extend its sphere of activities into home and judicial affairs.
89. Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the proposal in Article 235A of the Luxembourg Draft EC Treaty revisions which would allow the EC to extend its sphere of activities into home and judicial affairs.
99. Mr. J. Mitchell asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the proposal in Article 235A of the Luxembourg Draft EC Treaty revisions which would allow the EC to extend its sphere of activities into home and judicial affairs.
102. Mr. Nealon asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the proposal in Article 235A of the Luxembourg Draft EC Treaty revisions which would allow the EC to extend its sphere of activities into home and judicial affairs.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I propose to take Questions Nos. 20, 28, 40, 68, 89, 99 and 102 together since they have been put down in similar and, in some cases, identical terms.
The current Presidency text derives from a proposal put forward Chancellor Kohl and President Mitterrand in December 1990 for the extension of Community competence to immigration, visa policy, asylum policy, the fight against drugs and organised international crime. Until now co-operation in these areas has been carried out at an inter-governmental level and has not been a matter of Community competence.
What is now proposed is that the level of co-operation should be increased and formalised but that the procedures for co-operation should remain essentially for the intergovernmental pillar rather than for the Community pillar. However, to reflect the desire of some partners to  have an element of Community competence in certain less sensitive areas consideration is being given to providing a mechanism which would, with the unanimous agreement of all the member states, allow for aspects of visa and immigration policy be made a matter of Community competence and to be subject to the provisions of the EC Treaty.
Ireland favours increased co-operation in the area of home affairs and judicial co-operation. We take the view that at the present state of the Community's development it is sensible to apply the system of intergovernmental co-operation to most of the areas involved. This is particularly so in the case of criminal law, terrorism, drug trafficking, serious forms of international crime and fundamental policy decisions in areas of immigration and asylum.
For this reason we have argued that in general the intergovernmental model should be used. Decisions should be taken by unanimity. The classic Community procedures of Commission initiative and review by the Court of Justice should not apply automatically. Consequently the role of the Court of Justice would be limited and the right of initiative in certain areas would be shared between the Commission and the member states, while in others, such as police and judicial co-operation, the Commission would have no right of initiative.
Of course, if it is agreed that some areas of visa policy and immigration policy become a matter for Community competence, Ireland would accept that the classic Community procedures of Commission initiative and review by the Court of Justice would apply in those areas.
23. Mr. Dukes asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on whether the EC's ability to play a constructive role in relation to the resolution of the conflict in Yugoslavia would be enhanced by closer political co-operation on (1) foreign policy and (2) security and defence issues.
60. Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline the Government position on the continuing conflict in Yugoslavia; if it is intended to raise the matter at the United Nations; whether any consideration has been given to a role for a UN peace-keeping force; if he will outline the Government's attitude to the suggestion made earlier, of an EC military peace-keeping force; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
71. Mr. Creed asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the multiple failures of EC initiatives to halt the civil war in Yugoslavia.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I will take Questions Nos. 23, 60 and 71 together.
Since the inception of the conflict in Yugoslavia, the European Community and its member states have been to the forefront of the international effort to bring in to a rapid and peaceful conclusion. Ireland has played a full part in elaborating the policies and initiatives of the Community to this end and fully supports them.
The Twelve have adopted a twofold policy aimed, on the one hand, at the establishment and maintenance of an effective ceasefire and, on the other, at the attainment by political means of a general settlement, acceptable to all, of the disputes which divide the peoples of Yugoslavia.
Since 13 July a civilian monitor mission has been in Yugoslavia under the auspices of the Commmunity with the consent of the Yugoslav parties and with the backing of CSCE. The role of the mission has evolved as the situation on the ground has developed. Its primary function continues to be to stabilise the ceasefires that have been agreed and to investigate violations. Its activities now also include the mediation of local ceasefires, the exchange of prisoners and other activities  designed to alleviate tension. Seven members of the monitor mission are provided by Ireland. I pay tribute to the bravery of the individual monitors who continue to carry out their mandate in difficult circumstances and at considerable personal risk. Without their presence, there is no doubt that the situation on the ground would be far worse.
I have already described, in reply to an earlier question, the efforts being undertaken in the Hague aimed at a political settlement of the crisis. The proposals introduced by Lord Carrington at the Conference on Yugoslavia have been accepted as a basis for negotiation by all republics with the exception of Serbia. The Community is at present considering appropriate means, including the possible implementation of restrictive measures, to persuade Serbia to engage in meaningful negotiations on the basis of these proposals.
The Twelve have already engaged in close co-ordination in their efforts to bring about an end to the crisis. I am confident that this will continue as we work in the Inter-Governmental Conference towards arrangements for a common foreign and security policy.
I share the concern, however, that, despite our efforts, it has not yet been possible to establish an effective ceasefire or reach a political solution to the crisis. The blame for this rests squarely on the intransigence of certain parties in Yugoslavia, an in particular of Serbia and the Yugoslav National Army.
In my statement to the United Nations General Assembly on 27 September I welcome the measures adopted two days previously by the Security Council in its resolution 713 (1991), which imposed an arms embargo on Yugoslavia; expressed full support for the collective efforts for peace and dialogue in Yugoslavia undertaken under the auspices of the member states of the European Community; and invited the Secretary-General to offer his assistance. On 8 October the Secretary-General appointed the former US Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, as his personal envoy to assist him in the discharge  of his responsibilities under the resolution. The Secretary-General has now reported back to the Security Council which is understood to be considering what further measures it might take.
The question of the establishment of a United Nations peace-keeping force would be a matter for the United Nations Security Council. As far as I am aware, this is not at present under consideration.
The Security Council remains seized of the situation in Yugoslavia. I do not believe it would be appropriate for Ireland alone to make recommendations as to what action it might take concerning that situation. However, the Twelve have decided that, should it be considered necessary, they will seize the Security Council with the question of an oil embargo. In addition, through the Security Council, the Secretary-General will be asked to examine the implementation of the existing arms embargo with a view to ensuring that it is respected.
At their meeting on 19 September the European Community and its member states expressed regret that the monitor mission was unable to perform its task in full. They therefore welcomed that the Western European Union would explore ways in which the activities of the monitors could be supported so as to make their work a more effective contribution to the peace-keeping effort. The Twelve expressed their understanding that no military intervention was contemplated and that before a reinforced monitor mission were established a ceasefire would have to be agreed with a prospect of holding and that all Yugoslav parties would have expressed their agreement. I understand that the Western European Union is continuing its study of the various options identified. The despatch of an EC military peace-keeping force to Yugoslavia is not under discussion.
26. Mrs. T. Ahearn asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he considers the system of Intergovernmental Conferences to be an adequatedly democratic way of settling the provisions of a new European Constitution; his views on whether there should be some means of consulting public opinion in the drafting process of such a constitution or treaty; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
29. Mrs. Barnes asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he considers the system of Intergovernmental Conferences to be an adequatedly democratic way of settling the provisions of a new European Constitution; his views on whether there should be some means of consulting public opinion in the drafting process of such a constitution or treaty; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
39. Mr. Boylan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has satisfied himself that there is adequate democratic accountability to the EC electorate of the decisions of the EC Council of Ministers in view of the proposals to increase the extent of majority voting within the Council.
43. Mr. Enright asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on granting national parliaments of member states the right to be consulted, within a time limit, on any proposal to convene an Intergovernmental Conference to amend the EC treaties.
55. Mr. Bradford asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has satisfied himself that there is adequate democratic accountability to the EC electorate of the decisions of the EC Council of Ministers in view of the proposals to increase the extent of majority voting within the Council.
61. Mr. Farrelly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on granting national parliaments of member states the right to be consulted, within a time limit, on any proposal to convene an Intergovernmental Conference to amend the EC treaties.
91. Mr. S. Barrett asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he considers the system of Intergovernmental Conferences to be an adequately democratic way of settling the provisions of a new European Constitution; his views on whether there should be some means of consulting public opinion in the drafting process of such a constitution or treaty; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
97. Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on granting national parliaments of member states the right to be consulted, within a time limit, on any proposal to convene an Inter-governmental Conference to amend the EC treaties.
115. Mr. Belton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he considers the system of Intergovernmental Conferences to be an adequately democratic way of settling the provisions of a new European Constitution; his views on whether there should be some means of consulting public opinion in the drafting process of such a constitution or treaty; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
117. Proinsias De Rossa asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will support the proposal that the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Conference be ratified by the European Parliament, before being presented to the Oireachtas in view of the decisions to this effect taken by the Italian and Belgian Parliaments; if he will further support the convening of another conference of Community Parliaments before the conclusion of the work of the Intergovernmental Conferences; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I propose to take Questions Nos. 26, 29, 39, 43, 55, 61, 91, 97, 115 and 117 together since these questions all relate to the issue of consultation.
I am satisfied that the participation of the national Governments, which are, after all, responsible to their national  legislatures, provides an adequately democratic means of negotiating the new Union Treaty. I do not see any need to amend the relevant article of the EC Treaty to involve national parliaments in the convening of future Inter-governmental Conferences and I am not aware of any proposals to this effect. In addition, I do not see that it would be feasible to consult public opinion directly in the drafting of treaties. Governments are ultimately responsible to the electorate and can be expected to be conscious of their views as they approach the task of negotiation.
In due course the outcome of the negotiations will be put to the electorate here in a referendum. It is the Government's intention to publish a White Paper on the outcome well in advance of the referendum to enable the Oireachtas and the electorate to be fully informed of the results of the negotiations before they vote on the issue.
It is not the Government's intention to support proposals to have the results of the Intergovernmental Conferences ratified by the European Parliament in advance of the ratification debate in national Parliaments. There is no such provision in Article 236 of the EC Treaty (or in the corresponding Articles of the other Treaties). I am aware of the position of the Italian and Belgian Parliaments, but I would not wish to comment on the approach which they have taken, which is a matter for themselves.
Finally, I am not aware of any proposal to hold a further conference of EC Parliaments in advance of the conclusion of the work of the Intergovernmental Conferences. This is a matter for the European Parliament, which sponsored the Rome Assises in November last year, and for the National Parliaments themselves.
31. Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline the level of EC aid being given to (a) that part of Germany formerly known as East Germany (b) Czechoslovakia (c) Hungary (d) Romania and (e) Poland in 1991.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): The European Community and its member states are the major contributors to the international effort to support economic and political transformation in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. EC assistance to these countries comes in a variety of forms geared to the particular needs of each country and its level of development. The categories include emergency aid, project aid, balance of payments assistance and loans for development projects.
This year the Community has continued to finance humanitarian aid to Romania. In March 1991, 100 million ECU was provided for emergency food and medical aid for Romania and Bulgaria and the Commission decided to grant further humanitarian aid of 10 million ECU for the supply of basic medicine in May 1991.
Technical assistance is given under the Community's PHARE programme for projects related to economic reform and structural adjustment. This has a total budget in 1991 of 785 million ECU. Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania are each expected to take up approximately 150 million ECU while Poland's allocation is expected to be approximately 200 million ECU.
The European Council in Rome in December 1990 recognised the need for exceptional balance of payments assistance, additional to that supplied by the IMF and the World Bank, and some Central and Eastern European countries. The amounts supplied by the EC in this way are to be matched by contributions from non-Community members of the Group of 24. The Community decided earlier this year on loans of 375 million ECU each to Czechoslovakia and Romania and a loan of 180 million ECU to Hungary. These are for a maximum of seven years and the first amounts are being paid this year.
The Central and Eastern European countries are also eligible for loans from  the European Investment Bank (EIB). In February 1990 the Council agreed that up to one billion ECU over three years would be available from the EIB for projects in Poland and Hungary. In February 1991 a provision of up to 700 million ECU over two years was made for loans to initiate projects in Czechoslovakia, Romania and Bulgaria. These amounts will be availed of as suitable projects are presented for financing. By 1 September 1991 loans of 240 million ECU to Poland, 120 million ECU to Hungary and 25 million ECU to Romania had been approved.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) which was inaugurated in April 1991 has a capital of 10 billion ECU of which the EC together with its member states holds 51 per cent. The bank's objective is to promote private and entrepreneurial activity in the Central and Eastern European countries committed to democracy. Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Romania are founder members of the bank and designated recipient countries. They are therefore eligible to receive funding for projects during 1991.
All of these measures are supplemented by EC trade concessions designed to improve market access and further the integration of these countries into the open international economic system.
As an integral part of the European Community, that part of Germany formerly known as the German Democratic Republic is in a different position to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and accordingly does not benefit from assistance from PHARE or co-ordinated G24 assistance. It does, however, benefit from aid from the Community budget. The Commission has estimated that in 1991 the Community will commit approximately 900 million ECU in structural funds, 100 million ECU from other areas of the Community budget and approximately 1.3 billion ECU in FEOGA guarantees.
32. Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the action the Irish Government have taken to ascertain the safety of the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): The Government condemns the continued house arrest of the Burmese opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi.
We deplore the fact that all access to the outside world is denied her, including contact with her supporters and with the media, and that all requests by foreign visitors and by European Community representatives in Rangoon to be allowed to see her have been refused by the military regime. Against this background, Deputies will appreciate that it is extremely difficult, including even for those countries represented in Rangoon, to ascertain the conditions under which she is being held.
I believe that continued and concerted international pressure on the Burmese military is the best means at our disposal to secure the release of Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.
34. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will seek to insert, in the provisions of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community concerning public health, specific provisions to create an EC-wide responsibility for the care of the elderly and of retired persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
100. Mr. J. Higgins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will seek to insert, in the provisions of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community concerning public health, specific provisions to create an EC-wide responsibility for the care of the elderly and of retired persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
101. Mr. Harte asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will seek to insert, in the provisions of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community concerning public health, specific provisions to create an EC-wide responsibility for the care of the elderly and of retired persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
116. Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will seek to insert, in the provisions of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community concerning public health, specific provisions to create an EC-wide responsibility for the care of the elderly and of retired persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I propose to take Questions Nos. 34, 100, 101 and 116 together since they have been put down in identical terms.
Health is one of the areas in which Ireland tabled a draft text at an early stage of the negotiations. We believe that this is an area where it should be possible for the Community to increase its co-operation and the draft text presently under discussion at the Inter-governmental Conference on Political Union will provide for the future Community action to be directed towards the prevention of diseases, while paying particular attention to combating major health scourges.
There are no proposals to create an EC-wide responsibility for the care of the elderly and of retired persons as these are matters which fall quite clearly within the competence of the member states as they principally concern the provision of social security and pension benefits.
35. Dr. G. FitzGerald asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on whether the work of the European Parliament should be concentrated in one site; and, if so, if he will outline which of three sites now in use should be chosen.
62. Mr. Harte asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on whether the work of the European Parliament should be concentrated in one site; and, if so, if he will outline which of three sites now in use should be chosen.
63. Miss Flaherty asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on whether the work of the European Parliament should be concentrated in one site; and, if so, if he will outline which of three sites now in use should be chosen.
104. Mr. Flanagan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on whether the work of the European Parliament should be concentrated in one site; and, if so, if he will outline which of three sites now in use should be chosen.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I propose to take Questions Nos. 35, 62, 63 and 104 together, as they have all been put down in identical terms.
I would recall that the European Council agreed in 1981 that the provisional places of work of the Community institutions would remain unchanged. Efforts since then, including some in recent years, to resolve the issue of the permanent location of the various institutions on the basis of a package deal acceptable to all member states have not so far proved successful. The problem is now a complex one, involving also the location of the new institutions and agencies, and I see little prospect of an immediate resolution. Accordingly we accept the continuation of the existing situation — as we must in the absence of the unanimous agreement of member states which would be necessary for change. This means that Parliament will continue to hold its plenary sessions in Strasbourg and committee meetings in Brussels, while the Secretariat will continue to be based in Luxembourg.
37. Mr. Crowley asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposals in Article 171 of the Luxembourg draft EC Treaty revisions which would allow pecuniary penalties to be imposed on member states who fail to comply with an EC Court judgment.
108. Mr. D'Arcy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposals in Article 171 of the Luxembourg draft EC Treaty revisions which would allow pecuniary penalties to be imposed on member states who fail to comply with an EC Court judgment.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I propose to take Questions Nos. 37 and 108 together since they have been put down in identical terms.
The proposed addition to Article 171 allows the Commission to issue a reasoned opinion specifying the points on which the member state which has not complied with a court ruling must do so and specifying a time limit in which appropriate action must be taken. Failing compliance, it will be open to the Commission to take the matter again to the Court of Justice and in so doing to specify the amount of the lump sum or penalty payment to be paid by the member state concerned. The court may then impose the appropriate lump sum or penalty.
In the Intergovernmental Conference Ireland has indicated that it can agree to this proposal.
38. Mr. Farrelly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if, he will outline, with regard to title XIX of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community in regard to culture, the way in which responsibilities of the European Community in this matter will relate to those of the Council of Europe; and whether there will be any overlap or duplication of responsibility.
50. Miss Flaherty asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if, he will outline, with regard to title XIX of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community in regard to culture, the way in which responsibilities of the European Community in this matter will relate to those of the Council of Europe; and whether there will be any overlap or duplication of responsibility.
94. Mr. Flanagan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline with regard to title XIX of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community in regard to culture, the way in which responsibilities of the European Community in this matter will relate to those of the Council of Europe; and whether there will be any overlap or duplication of responsibility.
98. Dr. G. FitzGerald asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline with regard to title XIX of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty of the Union of the European Community in regard to culture, the way in which responsibilities of the European Community in this matter will relate to those of the Council of Europe; and whether there will be any overlap or duplication of responsibility.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I propose to take Questions Nos. 38, 50, 94 and 98 together since they have been put down in identical terms.
The inclusion of a specific Treaty provision to cover culture responds to a growing desire to deepen throughout the Community the knowledge of and interest in the diverse cultural traditions and languages of the peoples of the twelve member States of the Community. Ireland has for a long time supported the development of a cultural dimension to the Community's activities. We have co-operation with the Commission in proposing draft articles on culture to be included in the new Treaty.
It is not envisaged that there should be any overlap or duplication of responsibility between possible Community actions and those undertaken by the Council of Europe. The Community  recognises the special expertise of the Council of Europe in the cultural sphere, as the Treaty negotiations have indicated.
There are very strong possibilities for closer co-operation between the two including the prospect of joint programmes of action in the future. Member states have shown a particular concern in these negotiations not to conflict with the Council of Europe activities in the cultural area.
41. Mr. Byrne asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if, in the event of a conflict or war affecting a European Community member state, he will outline the role he envisages for Ireland in defence of another member state; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Miniser for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): The Treaties establishing the European Communities and the Single European Act do not entail any military or defence commitments and no such commitments are involved in Ireland's acceptance of these Treaties. In the hypothetical situation to which the Deputy refers, Ireland would have the right to refrain from acting in any way which might affect its status as a country not belonging to a military alliance involving a mutual defence commitment. In so far as our political conduct is concerned I would envisage that in such a situation we would take account of the circumstances of any conflict, the degree of political and economic integration achieved in the Community and the solidarity amongst member states on which progress towards political union is based.
47. Mr. Cosgrave asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposal in Article 3G of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty revision which defines the principle of subsidiarity in EC law.
56. Mr. Connor asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposal in Article 3G of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty revision which defines the principle of subsidiarity in EC Law.
80. Mr. Cotter asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the proposal in Article 3 G of the Luxembourg Draft EC Treaty revision which defines the principle of subsidiarity in EC law.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I propose to take Questions Nos. 47, 56 and 80 together, as they have all been put down in identical terms.
The question refers to Article 3g of the Luxembourg Draft Treaty: as it is in fact article 3b of Treaty which deals with subsidiarity, it is to this section that I address my reply.
The draft Article 3b of the Luxembourg Treaty states that the Community shall act within the limits of the powers conferred upon it by the Treaty and of the objectives assigned to it therein. In the areas which do not fall within the exclusive competence of the Community, the Community shall take action, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, only if, and in so far as, these objectives can be better achieved by the Community than by the member states acting separately, by reason of the scale of effect of the proposed action.
The principle underlying the Luxembourg draft article is that action should be taken by the Community only where it can be more effective than action taken at the level of the member state. We welcome this principle which is in line with the original mandate given to the Intergovernmental Conference by the European Council to examine measures of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Community, and we could go along with the approach proposed.
48. Mr. McCartan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he intends to raise the issue of the imprisonment, currently in solitary confinement, of Mr. Mordechai Vanunu by the Israeli Government for allegedly revealing details of the Israeli nuclear weapons programme; if he intends to raise the matter at the European Council with a view to promoting EC action to end this denial of human rights; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): The Israeli authorities are fully aware of the importance which the European Community and its member states attach to the need to respect and observe human rights. Ireland has joined with its EC partners in making clear to Israel our concerns on human rights issues with particular reference to the Occupied Territories.
The specific case of Mr. Vanunu who is now serving a term of imprisonment in Israel has not been discussed within Europpean Political Co-operation but I am aware that some partners have raised it bilaterally with Israel. It is not my intention to raise the matter at the European Council.
49. Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will give an assurance that all required pressure will be imposed on Morocco to ensure (1) that a fair and democratic referendum is held in the Western Sahara and (2) that Morocco co-operates fully with the United Nations peace plan.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): On 29 April 1991, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 690 on the Western Sahara. It expressed full support for the Secretary-General's efforts for the organisation by the United Nations of a referendum for self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. The resolution called on the two parties, Morocco and the Polisario  Front, to co-operate fully with the Secretary-General in the implementation of his plan and it decided to establish the United Nations Mission for the referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). The plan provides for the organisation of a free and fair referendum in which the people will choose between integration with Morocco and independence.
On 29 October, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on the question of the Western Sahara. Morocco supported the terms of the resolution and joined in its adoption by consensus. The resolution expressed full support for the efforts of the Secretary-General for the organisation and supervision by the United Nations of the 1992 referendum. The criteria for participation in that referendum are soon to be published by the United Nations. I have every confidence that the UN Secretary-General will discharge fully the mandate entrusted to him.
53. Mr. Spring asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he is reviewing the position of Ireland's Honorary Consul to Monaco; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I am very satisfied with the performance of the present Honorary Consul of Ireland in Monaco. The question of reviewing his position does not, accordingly, arise.
57. Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the extent of the dumping of toxic and poisonous substances by the United Kingdom authorities off the north-west of Ireland coastline; if he will outline the nature and location of these dumps; if he has sought assurances from the UK authorities that (1) the dumping does not present a threat to the immediate environment and (2) such methods of disposal are discontinued in future.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I assume that the Deputy's question relates to the dumping by the British authorities of munitions containing toxic substances at a number of locations, ranging from 87 to 230 miles off the north-west coast, between 1945 and 1957. In response to representations which the Embassy in London made to the British authorities on this subject in 1986, it was confirmed that munitions dating from World War II, which included nerve and mustard bombs, had been dumped and co-ordinates for the various dumping locations were given. We received assurances that the munitions would give rise to no health hazard whatsoever; if any leakage occurred, it would diminish harmlessly through dilution or, in the case of insoluble substances, remain static on the sea-bed. We were also assured that the chemicals were at a depth where there was no danger that they could be dredged up by fishing vessels.
While I welcome the assurances which were given, it remains a source of concern to the Government that chemical weapons lie in the seas off this country. In the period since the dumping occurred, however, the rules of international law in such matters have been considerably tightened and the risk of a recurrence is quite remote. The 1972 London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, to which both the UK and Ireland are parties, prohibits the disposal at sea of certain substances, except in emergency situations, and provides for consultation with other affected countries in these cases.
58. Mrs. Fennell asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline the practical steps he is taking to give effect to the Taoiseach's declaration at the World Summit for Children of 29-30 September, 1990 in relation to (a) disease prevention (b) education and (c) health services for children throughout the world, especially in Third World countries.
66. Mr. Sheehan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline the practical steps he is taking to give effect to the Taoiseach's declaration at the World Summit for Children of 29-30 September, 1990 in relation to (a) disease prevention (b) education and (c) health services for children throughout the world, especially in Third World countries.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I propose to take Questions Nos. 58 and 66 together.
The Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children in the 1990s, and the associated Plan of Action, were adopted by the World Summit for Children, which was attended by the Taoiseach in New York in September of last year. I presume that this is the declaration to which the Deputies are referring. The Declaration outlined a series of practical steps to improve the well-being of children worldwide.
The Declaration called for action at both national and international levels. Domestically, the provisions of the Declaration are being put into effect by my colleagues the Ministers for Health, Education, Social Welfare and Justice, primarily through the Child Care Act. On the international level, the Government demonstrated its commitment to the aims of the World Summit for Children by significantly increasing our voluntary contribution to UNICEF. In 1991 we contributed £420,000 to the fund.
My Department are currently implementing a series of child-related development projects under the bilateral aid programme.
In the area of disease prevention, we have instituted a number of new Irish aid projects which will be of particular benefit to children. These include an immunisation programme in Sudan and micro-projects to control malaria and water borne diseases in Tanzania. Another example of our commitment is the  new well-construction programme in the Mbala district in Northern Zambia. This project, with a budget of over £650,000 for a three-year period from 1992, should help to significantly reduce children's vulnerability to cholera. Water supply projects in Sudan and Lesotho costing £700,000 are also under way.
In the area of education, we have recently embarked under the bilateral aid programme upon an ambitious programme for the rehabilitation of primary schools in the Kilosa district of Tanzania. The programme has a budget of over £442,000 for its initial two year pilot phase, 1991-93. Following completion of the pilot phase it is intended to draw upon the lessons learned so as to prepare a more extensive programme of rehabilitation of local primary schools.
The bilateral aid programme is also involved in the provision of primary health care in Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia. For example, it supports a programme for the rehabilitation of maternity clinics in Lusaka, and a small anaesthetist training programme in Tanzania which contributes significantly to mother and child welfare through the provision of safe delivery at child birth.
This year the Government have also co-financed a number of primary education and mother and child health care projects with Non-Governmental Organisations under the 1991 NGO Co-Financing scheme. These include grants to the Loreto Sisters in Kenya towards the construction of a primary school in a slum area of Nairobi; to the Little Company of Mary Sisters towards the construction of a rural health clinic in Haiti; and to the Sisters of Mercy in South Africa towards the construction of a primary school which caters for pupils from Soweto.
59. Mr. Barry asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of meetings of the Anglo-Irish Conference which have taken place this year; the location of these meetings; and if he will outline the people who attended them.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): To date this year there have been six meetings of the Anglo-Irish Integovernmental Conference. Two of these were held in Belfast, two in Dublin and two in London. I propose to circulate a tabular statement containing these details in the Official Report.
As Co-Chairman, I attended all six Conference meetings as did the Minister for Justice. In addition, four of the meetings were attended by other Irish Government Ministers. In order of attendance, these were: the Minister for the Environment, the Minister for Health, the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Education. A senior Garda representative, usually the Commissioner, also attended all Conference meetings.
On the British side, the six meetings were attended by the Secretary of State, Mr. Peter Brooke, as Co-Chairman, together with the Deputy Secretary of State, Lord Belstead. Other Ministers at the Northern Ireland office attended Conference meetings when issues relevant to their portfolios were under discussion. A senior member of the RUC, usually the Chief Constable, also attended all meetings.
The relevant officials on both sides were present at each meeting.
Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference Meetings, 1991
|31 January 1991||Dublin|
|9 April 1991||Belfast|
|26 April 1991||London|
|16 July 1991||Dublin|
|13 September 1991||Belfast|
|17 October 1991||London|
75. Mr. Garland asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether his presence as an observer at a meeting of the Western European Union indicates that the Government no longer believe that the conference on security and co-operation in Europe is the appropriate forum for action on security issues.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): The Government believe that the CSCE has played and will continue to play a central role as a forum for developing European security and co-operation.
As a result of the dramatic changes in Eastern Europe over the past two years, the perspective for European security is now much altered. The Warsaw Treaty Organisation has disappeared. The Atlantic Alliance is re-examining its role. A new optimism is evident in arms control negotiations and in the co-operative approach to security represented by the CSCE.
These developments accord with the longstanding attitude of this country to security questions. We have long supported confidence-building, non-confrontational diplomacy, and the strengthening of the ability of the international community to achieve peaceful settlement of disputes. We believe that in this new situation the CSCE itself as a structure and the commitment of its 38 member states to the principles of the CSCE Final Act, 1975, and of the Charter of Paris 1990, are factors of major importance for European security.
For example, the CSCE has an important role in relation to events in Yugoslavia. Since the adoption of a statement by Ministers in Berlin last June, the CSCE's Committee of Senior Officials has met on a number of occasions to discuss the situation in Yugoslavia. All 38 participating states have endorsed the actions of the European Community aimed at bringing about a peaceful solution. In addition, on 22 October, the CSCE decided to appoint a mission to inquire into the human rights situation in Yugoslavia.
In a detailed statement issued on 18 September, the Government outlined their reasons for attending, in an observer capacity, a Western European Union ministerial meeting on Yugoslavia  on 19 September. Similar considerations led to our attendance at a second such meeting later in September. Our attendance at these meetings related to the specific circumstances in Yugoslavia and to this country's interest in being fully briefed on all developments in relation to Yugoslavia which might have a bearing on the peace process.
Attendance in an observer capacity at WEA meetings does not detract in any way from the Government's views on the central role of the CSCE in European security and co-operation.
76. Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his attitude to the present Middle East peace talks; if he will indicate the role which the European Community will be playing during the course of these important talks; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
109. Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline the Government's position on the Middle East peace conference, currently under way in Madrid; if he will confirm that it is the position of the Irish Government that the Palestine Liberation Organisation, as the central representative organisation of the Palestinian people, must have a central role to play in any permanent solution to the problems of the area, and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I will take Questions Nos. 76 and 109 together.
I greatly welcome the Middle East peace talks which opened in Madrid on 30 October and would like to pay tribute to the painstaking efforts to convene these talks which were undertaken by the United States and in particular by the Secretary of State, James Baker.
The European Community has been strongly supportive of the initiative undertaken by Mr. Baker.
There are three phases to the Middle East Peace Process: firstly, the opening  Conference which took place in Madrid from 30 October to 1 November 1991; secondly, bilateral negotiations between the Israeli and Arab delegations, which have already commenced; and thirdly, multilateral negotiations involving all the participants, including the EC, which are expected to begin shortly.
The Peace Conference is co-sponsored by the USA and the USSR. It has been agreed with the parties to the Conference that the EC is to participate alongside the co-sponsors of the Conference.
At the opening of the Conference on 30 October, the Netherlands Foreign Minister, Mr. Hans Van den Broek, spoke on behalf of the European Community and the Twelve member states and the text of his address has been placed in the Dáil Library.
The EC will be working closely with the parties to the bilateral talks to ensure progress towards a settlement based on the right of all states in the region, including Israel, to live within secure and recognised boundaries and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
The EC intends to make an active practical contribution to the multilateral negotiations, which are likely to address such issues as regional economic co-operation, arms control, the problem of refugees, water resources, environmental protection and energy needs.
The Palestinian delegation to the Peace Conference is broadly representative of the Palestinian people and is acceptable to the Palestinine Liberation Organisation. I am satisifed that the Palestinian representatives will play a central role in these vital negotiations which will, I hope, lead to a just and permanent solution to the historic problem of the Middle East.
77. Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if, in view of the strong ethnic links between Newfoundland and the South East of Ireland, he will agree to the setting up of a permanent consulate in St. John's.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): The Deputy is no doubt referring to the possibility of opening a consulate staffed by an honorary consul.
I am not opposed in principle to the idea of appointing an honorary consul in Newfoundland. In fact there was an honorary consul in St. John's until 1985. I understand that the principal reason for his appointment related to the use of the port by Irish Shipping and, of course, this reason no longer applies.
Nevertheless, in view of the particularly strong ethnic and cultural links which exist, I am asking the ambassador to look into the possibility of an honorary consul being appointed in the area.
79. Mr. Dukes asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if the EC intends to attach conditions in relation to economic and political reforms to economic aid to the countries of the USSR.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): The Community's policy as enunciated by the European Council in Dublin in June 1990 has been to provide support for the efforts of the Soviet Union to make progress towards a democratic system and a market-oriented economy. A certain amount of economic aid has already been committed by the Community in this context in the areas of food aid and technical assistance. It is accepted that consideration of any more far-reaching Community aid would have to await a more focused economic reform programme and greater clarity in the matter of Union-Republic relations.
A strong element of conditionality therefore applies to EC economic aid to the Soviet Union. In January this year implementation of measures on technical assistance and food aid credits was interrupted as a sign of concern at the situation at the time in the Baltics. A similar interruption was contemplated in August at the time of the failed coup. Food aid in  grant form has not however been subjected to the same conditionality on the grounds that it is strictly humanitarian. Rigorous monitoring arrangements have nevertheless been included in the relevant EC regulations to ensure that this aid reaches those most in need.
The Twelve continue to monitor the evolving and very fluid situation in the Soviet Union. They maintain contact and exchange information with the G7, the International Monetary Fund and other international institutions playing a part in the massive task of helping to transform the Soviet economy. The implementation of the existing EC programme and the elaboration of any further measures will be carried out taking account of political and economic developments.
The question of relations between the Union and the Republics is still open and evolving. In channelling EC technical assistance a pragmatic approach has therefore been followed in identifying the most appropriate and effective interlocutors. The overall political and economic conditionality however remains unchanged.
It is intended that the newly independent Baltic States benefit as from next January from Group of 24 and Community co-ordinated aid to Central and Eastern Europe. Well established guidelines in relation to political and economic conditionality of aid are already operating in respect of these programmes.
81. Mr. G. Reynolds asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline the progress which has been made through the Anglo-Irish secretariat, regarding the reopening of the Border crossing between County Leitrim and County Fermanagh; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I have every sympathy for people in the Leitrim-Fermanagh Border area whose lives are subject to daily disruption because of closed cross-Border  roads. The question of closed Border roads, and the particular difficulties they create for people on both sides of the Leitrim-Fermanagh Border, has been repeatedly raised with the British authorities through the Anglo-Irish Secretariat in Belfast, where the matter receives ongoing and detailed attention. The issue has also been discussed at several meetings of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference.
I believe there is a very strong case for reopening closed Border crossings in County Leitrim which is without any open road to County Fermanagh. But there are serious security considerations arising from the continuing campaign of violence which make it difficult to make progress on this issue. These considerations must be weighed carefully against the negative economic and social effects of the crossings remaining closed. I am assured that the British authorities are keeping the situation under review and I will continue to draw attention, through the mechanisms of the Anglo-Irish conference, to the problems experienced by the people of Leitrim and to their views on particular road closures. I will also continue to urge that road closures should only be maintained where there are most persuasive security reasons for doing so.
90. Mr. Barry asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if it is proposed to drop the sanction against the importation of fruit and vegetables from South Africa.
126. Mr. Barry asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether the Government propose to lift sporting and trading sanctions against South Africa.
127. Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his views on the removal of remaining sanctions against South Africa.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I propose to take Questions Nos. 90, 126 and 127 together.
 Irish policy on sanctions is formulated having regard to developments in South Africa and to consultations within the Community. The basis of the community's approach is one of gradual review of its restrictive measures as the process of change in South Africa is carried forward towards the total abolition of apartheid and the creation of a united, democratic and non-racial South Africa.
Deputies may recall that, in the light of the positive developments which had taken place in South Africa, the European Council in Rome in December last year reviewed the restrictive measures against South Africa introduced by the community in 1986. These were (a) a ban on new direct investment in South Africa, (b) the suspension of imports of gold coins and (c) of imports of certain iron and steel products.
The European council decided to lift, with immediate effect, the ban on new direct investment, so as to contribute to combating unemployment and to improving the general economic and social situation in South Africa. The lifting of the other two measures was made contingent on legislative action by the South African Government to repeal the remaining pillars of apartheid. Some months later, following the tabling of draft legislation to this effect in the South African Parliament in February 1991, the Community agreed to lift the two remaining 1986 measures. This decision, however, has not yet been given effect, as it is the subject of a Parliamentary reserve entered by one member state. Since the Community decision, the end to statutory apartheid was formally confirmed by the South African Parliament at the end of June.
In line with these developments at Community level, and conscious of the need to be responsive to the important reforms carried through so far in South Africa, the Irish Government have moved also to ease our national restrictions in the trade field. This is in accord with the indications given to the House by the Taoiseach, following President De  Klerk's visit to Ireland, that the Government would review all aspects of policy, in line with progress in South Africa towards a pluralist society and the total abolition of apartheid.
Accordingly the Government now no longer discourage private sector trade. However, restrictions remain in certain sectors, such as military and security co-operation. The Government have also decided to rescind the ban on the import of South African fruit and vegetables, introduced in 1986. Deputies will already have notice of this by the publication and laying before both Houses of the Oireachtas of the relevant Order on 1 November 1991.
As regards the public sector, restrictions which operated to preclude any trade by semi-State and public sector bodies with South Africa have also now been eased. They are now permitted to engage freely in trade with South Africa, subject of course to any relevant continuing sanctions. However, the Government believe it would be premature at this stage to countenance the establishment of any official offices in South Africa, or vice versa. These measures are intended to prepare the ground for the time when the new South Africa comes into being, and normal trading relations can develop.
With respect to sports, the European Council in Luxembourg in June 1991 decided to support the principle of renewing sporting contacts with South Africa at international level on a case-by-case basis, where unified and non-racial sporting bodies have been set up.
With a view to improving dialogue with the South African authorities and to discussing with them matters of concern to us, contacts at official level take place periodically. Contacts are also being maintained with representatives of the majority community.
As I have stated, we are committed to a gradual review of the pressure maintained by the Community and ourselves on South Africa. This can only take place, however, against a background of further substantive progress towards the objective of a new South Africa, in which  all her people enjoy common and equal citizenship, where respect for universally recognised human rights is guaranteed and where all are given to say in the Government of their country.
93. Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline in respect of visits made outside the State by him (a) the number to date this year, (b) the destinations involved, (c) the routes taken, (d) the purpose of the visits, (e) the total cost, (f) those who accompanied him on each visit and (g) the airline which was used on each visit.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): Since 1 January 1991 I have made the following visits outside the State:
|4 January||Luxembourg||EC Foreign Ministers Meeting|
|9-12 January||Turkey||Official Visit|
|11 January||Geneva||EC/UN Meeting|
|13-14 January||Bulgaria||Official Visit|
|14 January||Brussels||EC Foreign Ministers Meeting|
|17 January||Paris||EC Foreign Ministers Meeting|
|19-20 January||London||Meeting with Federation of Irish Societies|
|29-30 January||Oslo||Funeral of King Olaf|
|4 February||Brussels||EC General Affairs Council|
|5-10 February||Egypt||Official Visit|
|11-16 February||Germany||Official Visit|
|19 February||Luxembourg||European Political Co-operation Meeting|
|20-26 February||India||Official Visit|
|10 March||London||Meeting with Secretary of State for Northern Ireland|
|11-17 March||U.S.A.||St. Patricks Day Celebrations|
|18-19 March||Managua' Nicaragua||San Jose Group/EC Meeting|
|20-24 March||Mexico||Official Visit|
|26-27 March||Luxembourg||EC Foreign Ministers Meeting|
|8 April||Luxembourg||Special European Council|
|9 April||Belfast||Anglo-Irish Conference|
|15 April||Luxembourg||EC General Affairs Council|
|26 April||London||Anglo-Irish Conference|
|27-28 April||Luxembourg||Informal EC Foreign Ministers Meeting and Rio Group Meeting|
|10-11 May||Luxembourg||EC-Gulf Co-operation Council|
|13-14 May||Brussels||EC General Affairs Meeting|
|15-20 May||Japan||Official Visit|
|29-30 May||Luxembourg||EC/Asean Meeting|
|2-3 June||Dresden||EC Informal Foreign Ministers Meeting|
|4-5 June||Paris||OECD Meeting|
|6-9 June||Austria||Official Visit|
|14 June||London||Anglo-Irish Conference|
|16 June||Luxembourg||EC General Affairs Council|
|18-20 June||Berlin||Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe|
|20-21 June||London||Prime-Ministerial Meeting|
|23 June||Luxembourg||EC Conclave|
|23-27 June||Rome||Cardinal Daly Elevation|
|28-29 June||Luxembourg||European Council|
|10 July||The Hague||EPC Ministerial Meeting|
|20-23 July||USSR||Official Visit|
|24-28 July||Iceland||Official Visit|
|29 July||Brussels||EC General Affairs Council|
|6 August||The Hague||EC Foreign Ministers Meeting|
|20 August||The Hague||EC Foreign Ministers Meeting|
|27 August||Brussels||EC Foreign Ministers Meeting|
|3 September||The Hague||EC Foreign Ministers Meeting|
|6 September||Brussels||EC Foreign Ministers Meeting|
|7 September||The Hague||EC/Yugoslav Peace Conference|
|7-9 September||Switzerland||Europe Day Celebrations|
|9-11 September||Moscow||Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe Meeting|
|14-28 September||USA||UN General Assembly and Consular Visits|
|18-21 September||The Hague||EC Foreign Ministers Meeting|
|30 September||Brussels||EC General Affairs Council|
|5-6 October||Utrecht||Informal EC Ministerial Meeting|
|7-8 October||Lithuania||Official Visit|
|8 October||Bonn||Meeting with German Parliamentary Group|
|8-9 October||Latvia||Official Visit|
|9-10 October||Estonia||Official Visit|
|17 October||London||Anglo-Irish Conference|
|21 October||Luxembourg||EC/EFTA Negotiations|
|28 October||Luxembourg||Inter-Governmental Conference Meeting|
|1 November||Belfast||Inspection of International Fund for Ireland Projects|
|3/4 November||Brussels||EC General Affairs Meeting|
A large proportion of the travel costs arising from the above journeys are charged to the official accounts of our missions abroad. Owing to the deferred accounting system in operation in my Department in regard to expenditure by missions, it is not practicable to provide complete and individual costings for each of the above journeys.
On four of the above occasions I accompanied the Taoiseach on foreign business. I accompanied the President to Norway to attend the funeral of the late King Olaf. On these and on each other occasion, I was accompanied by the departmental official(s) relevant to the area of responsibility covered by the visit and, where necessary, by my wife who travelled in a representational capacity. On all but three occasions, when logistical arrangements dictated otherwise, I travelled by Government plane, using routes designated by the requirements of efficiency and air traffic control. The commercial airlines used were British Airways, Swiss Air and Japan Airlines.
107. Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline Government policy towards relief aid for Sudanese refugees.
125. Miss Flaherty asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline the response which he has made to the combined appeal by Irish church leaders in relation to the worsening crisis in the Sudan; and if he will ensure, through the United Nations and the EC, that the necessary relief aid reaches the displaced and refugee Sudanese populations in appropriate quantities and with the utmost urgency.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): I propose to take Questions Nos. 107 and 125 together.
The Government share the concern  about the situation in the Sudan expressed by the leaders of the main churches in Ireland in their combined appeal of 3 September 1991.
I have informed the church leaders that the Government fully agrees that everything possible should be done to alleviate the terrible sufferings which are affecting the Sudanese people.
As Deputies are aware, a major effort has been initiated by the world community to tackle the situation in the Sudan. In particular, the European Community initiated a special programme for famine relief in Africa, with the purpose of mobilising 600,000 tonnes of extra food aid from the Community and its member states, in addition to previous EC pledges of approximately 1 million tonnes. A large part of this operation, of the order of 25 per cent has been to assist the people of the Sudan. The relief deliveries in question have been contracted for and the supplies are either on their way or already delivered.
Ireland has participated in this effort. Furthermore, during 1991 the Government provided £440,000 in emergency relief for Sudan through Irish and international relief agencies. Of this, £75,000 was allocated to UNICEF for Operation Lifeline Sudan and £250,000 to the World Food Programme for famine relief in the Sudan. Both are involved in the course of their activities in providing assistance to the huge numbers of refugees and displaced persons there. As many of the refugees are situated in the south, access to them is a major problem and has necessitated combined airdrop and barge operations.
The information available to me indicates that, while there are areas of great need, especially in North Kordofan and North Darfur as well as in Southern Sudan, the most pressing need is not for further pledges but to find ways of delivering the food which is already available.
Unfortunately, the Government of Sudan has not been fully supportive at all times of the relief programme. In an effort to maximise co-operation and facilitate the delivery of relief aid, United  Nations agencies have held discussions at very high level with the Sudanese authorities. Ireland strongly supports these efforts. I am informed that, in the most recent past there has been an improvement in the level of co-operation forthcoming from the authorities and particularly from the Central Government which recently has made transport available to NGOs. However, the situation is far from ideal and pressure will need to be maintained.
Together with my colleagues in the European Community, I am keeping the situation in the Sudan under constant review. Close contact is being maintained with the appropriate UN agencies to monitor the implementation of the relief effort. Should additional resources again become necessary, the Government will examine carefully what additional contribution Ireland can make.
111. Mr. Shatter asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline in relation to each State and semi-State company under the aegis of his Department the companies which have a code of conduct delineating the activities which board members and employees of such bodies can engage in to ensure that an actual or potential conflict of interest does not arise vis-á-vis their duties as members and/or employees of such State bodies and other activities; the way in which this code of conduct, if any, is monitored by his Department; if he will make available in full, any such code of conduct stating the State and semi-State bodies to which it applies; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): The Agency for Personal Service Overseas (APSO) is the sole semi-State company under the aegis of my Department. The Agency for Personal Service Overseas is a company limited by guarantee which does not have a share capital. Its primary objective is “the promotion of temporary personal service in the developing countries of the world for  their economic and social development by persons from Ireland, in the interests of justice and peace among nations, in so far as this may be done by a body of persons established for charitable purposes and not otherwise”. The Agency for Personal Service Overseas is recognised as a charity for taxation purposes by the Revenue Commissioners.
While the Agency for Personal Service Overseas does not have an explicit code of conduct, the agency's memorandum and articles of association contain provisions which deal with actual or potential conflicts of interest involving members of the board or employees of the agency in the performance of their duties.
I have arranged for copies of the relevant documents to be placed in the Oireachtas Library.
I am satisfied that the relevant articles provide a sufficient safeguard to ensure that the prevention of potential or actual conflicts of interst by the Agency for Personal Service Overseas Board members and employees in the performance of their duties. However, as part of the current general review of the principles which govern the relationship between Departments of State and State bodies under their aegis, the question of whether any additional safeguards should be introduced is being examined.
113. Mr. Taylor asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline the Government's attitude to the presence of Syrian authority in Lebanon; if this issue has been discussed at EC Council of Ministers level; if so, if he will outline the position taken by the EC; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): The Irish Government and the other Governments in the European Community have consistently supported the Taif Accords, which were adopted by the Lebanese Parliament in October 1989. The Accords included two security plans, one for the disbandment of all  militias within six months and the other providing for assistance to the Lebanese Government by the Syrian Army for up to two years.
The timescale has proved slower than that envisaged by the Taif Accords and even the first of the two security plans is not yet complete since not all militias have been disbanded. However, there has been real progress. The Lebanese Government, which is broadly based, has established greater authority for itself and there is more stability in the country than at any time in the last 15 years. Central Government control has been extended over much of the country and the Defence Minister estimates that the army recovered 80 per cent of their weapons from the militias.
The European Community has declared its strong support for the Taif Accords, which it believes will bring about the full restoration of the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of a Lebanon free of all foreign troops.
Lebanon and Syria concluded a defence and security agreement on 1 September, which provides for security and military co-operation between the two countries.
I am conscious that both Syrian and Israeli troops continue to be present in Lebanon but the Taif Accords have provided a framework for restoring greater stability to Lebanon and I believe can in time help to bring about a Lebanon free of all foreign troops.
118. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for the Marine if he will outline (1) whether he received nominations to harbour boards in Wexford, Wicklow and Drogheda from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and (2) the reason he did not appoint ICTU nominees in accordance with normal practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for the Marine (Mr. Wilson): The Harbours Act, 1946, provides for the nomination by me of three members to  each of the Part II harbours i.e. harbours such as Wexford, Wicklow and Drogheda. There is a statutory requirement that one of these three members must be a person who, in my opinion, is representative of labour interests.
In all the ICTU made recommendations in respect of 19 harbour boards this year. Ten of those recommended were subsequently nominated by me, including the Wexford nominee. In 1985, the last harbour election year, 11 of 18 persons recommended by Congress were subsequently nominated by the then Minister in the Labour-Fine Gael Government. In instances where it was not possible to appoint the ICTU nominees I ensured that one of my appointees to each board was representative of labour interests.
119. Mrs. Owen asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if further to the decision of the Council of Ministers on 13-14 May 1991 to give 60 million ECUs of aid to Bangladesh, he will outline whether Ireland got clear agreement that the money already given to Bangladesh before the Council meeting would fulfil Ireland's commitment or whether to date, only Greece has paid and agreement with Germany and Spain that their measures to assist Bangladesh were accepted to fulfil their commitment, and that as far as the Commission is concerned Ireland has not yet given their share of this special aid.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): The decision taken at the Council of Ministers meeting on 13-14 May was that member states, on the basis of a Commission proposal, would provide aid totalling 60 MECU for the victims of the Bangladesh cyclone disaster. Costs were to be divided among member states on the basis of GNP. The decision provided that the aid would be integrated into the general action of the Community towards Bangladesh and that it would be provided either directly by member states  or through an account managed by the Commission.
The Commission would have preferred that contributions would be over and above contributions already made and would go towards supporting a proposed Community Bangladesh action plan.
Ireland, in common with a number of other member states, took the view that they were free to choose whether to provide funds to the Commission or to manage their programmes themselves and that member states could, if they wished, take account of contributions already made.
In the event only Greece transferred its portion of the 60 MECU directly to the Commission account. Germany and Spain entered into a co-funding arrangement with the Commission.
As I have already informed the Deputy on 17 October 1991, Ireland paid its agreed contribution of £275,000 in two separate allocations on 2 and 16 May 1991, respectively.
121. Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline his view and those of the EC on ministerial visits to Libya.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): While some aspects of relations with Libya have been the subject of a common approach within the Twelve there is no common policy on bilateral ministerial visits to that country which are normally a matter for individual states.
In Ireland's case, the question of whether a ministerial visit or visits to Libya would be appropriate or desirable and the possible timing of such a visit is a matter for consideration by the Government.
122. Mr. Garland asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline, within the area of responsibility of his Department and covering each year from the commencement of the job-sharing and career break scheme (a) the total number of applications received and (b) the total granted and not granted; if he will give a breakdown of the grades involved under each heading and the reasons some applications were turned down; if his Department have plans to extend the job sharing scheme from working halved hours to a system which facilitates the workers' requirements; and if not the reason therefor.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): My Department and the one semi-State body under their aegis, the Agency for Personal Service Overseas, have participated fully in the job-sharing and career break schemes since they were introduced by the Minister for Finance in 1984. The information sought by the Deputy in regard to both schemes is set out in schedules 1 and 2 which I propose to circulate.
 Every effort is made by my Department to facilitate staff who wish to take a career break or to job-share. No application to job-share has been refused by my Department to date. In the case of career breaks, a small number of applications have been refused on the grounds that they did not qualify under the terms of the relevant Department of Finance circular.
In the case of job-sharing, if no potential partner is available from within my Department, arrangements are made, with the agreement of the staff member concerned, to transfer the applicant to another Department where a job-sharing partner has been identified; alternatively the potential partner may transfer to my Department. The Department of Finance maintains a central register of job-sharing applications for this purpose.
I am not aware of any dissatisfaction with the existing job-sharing scheme which is operated by my Department within the terms of the relevant Department of Finance circular.
Department of Foreign Affairs
|Year||Applications received||Applications refused|
|1984||1 Executive Officer||Nil|
|1 Staff Officer|
|1 Clerical Assistant|
|1985||1 Executive Officer||Nil|
|1987||1 Executive Officer||Nil|
|1988||2 Clerical Assistants||Nil|
|1989||1 Staff Officer||Nil|
|2 Clerical Assistants|
|1990||2 Clerical Officers||Nil|
|1 Clerical Assistant|
|1991||1 Executive Officer*||Nil|
|2 Clerical Assistants*|
*These officers have been informed that their applications have been approved. The dates of commencement of job-sharing is a matter for agreement with them.
 Schedule 2
Department of Foreign Affairs
|Year||Applications received||Applications refused|
|1984||5 Clerical Assistants||Nil|
|1 Clerical Officer|
|1 Third Secretary|
|1 Company Secretary (APSO)|
|1985||7 Clerical Assistants||Nil|
|2 Clerical Officers|
|1 Higher Executive Officer|
|1 Third Secretary|
|4 First Secretaries|
|1986||8 Clerical Assistants||Nil|
|1 Staff Officer|
|1 Executive Officer|
|1 Higher Executive Officer|
|2 Third Secretaries|
|1 First Secretary|
|1987||8 Clerical Assistants||Nil|
|2 Clerical Officers|
|3 Executive Officers|
|3 Third Secretaries|
|3 First Secretaries|
|1988||15 Clerical Assistants||Nil|
|1 Clerical Officer|
|1 Executive Officer|
|2 Third Secretaries|
|1 First Secretary|
|5 Clerical Assistants||Two(a)|
|1 Clerical Officer|
|4 Third Secretaries|
|1990||6 Clerical Assistants||One(a)|
|2 Clerical Officers||One(a)|
|1 Staff Officer|
|1 Higher Executive Officer|
|3 Third Secretaries|
|1991||3 Clerical Assistants||Nil|
|1 Clerical Officer|
|2 Third Secretaries|
|1 First Secretary|
(a) Application did not qualify under the terms of the circular on career breaks then in operation.
123. Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the estimated number of Irish born emigrants in each of the following countries (1) Britain, (2) United States, (3) Canada and (4) Australia; and the total in the other 11 EC nations.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Collins): As the Deputy is aware, the  Central Statistics Office publish figures relating to net migration to and from the State. However, it would not be possible to derive from these a figure of the number of Irish born people living abroad.
Since there is no requirement on Irish citizens to register at Irish diplomatic missions or consular offices, the Government do not have comprehensive data on the number of Irish born citizens living in the countries mentioned in the Deputy's question.
128. Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the number of agri-tourism grants paid in the mid-west region during (1) 1989, (2) 1990 and (3) 1991; and the reasons for the new conditions attaching to the current revised scheme.
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. O'Kennedy): The number of grants paid under the agri-tourism scheme, which operated as part of the western package, in the mid-west region for the relevant years was as follows: 1989, nil; 1990, five; 1991, six.
In the new nationwide agri-tourism scheme introduced in 1991 under the operational programme for rural development the conditions were made less restrictive with a view to encouraging a greater number of people to participate.
129. Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if he will outline the grants which are available for planting apple and other fruit trees; and if he will give details.
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. O'Kennedy): Grants are available under the farm improvement programme for the replanting of apple orchards. The rate  of grant is 15 per cent (25 per cent in less-favoured areas) of the approved costs.
There are no grants available for the planting of new apple orchards or other fruit trees.
130. Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when the Leader programme applicants will be selected; and if he will outline the guidelines which will be used for selection under this programme.
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. O'Kennedy): A decision on the business plans which will be selected for funding is expected to be announced by the EC Commission in two stages in December 1991 and February 1992.
The selection of successful groups will be based on the general criteria contained in the Leader initiative i.e., guarantee of solvency of the group; administrative ability, know-how and expertise on rural development; local presence and participation of leading figures in the local economy and society; quality of the business plan.
131. Mr. J. Higgins asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the reason for the delay in paying a sheep headage grant to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo.
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. O'Kennedy): Payment of the first instalment of the 1991 ewe premium was delayed pending confirmation by his veterninary surgeon that a number of ewes had been lost following a dog attack. payment has now been approved and will be made within the next two weeks.
The 1991 sheep headage grant will be paid when payments commence later this month.
132. Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when payment under the 1990 beef premium scheme will be made to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. O'Kennedy): This applicant has been deemed ineligible for grants under the 1990 special beef premium scheme because he applied for premium on two animals which were not his property.
133. Mr. Flanagan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when payment of a beef cow grant will be made to a person (details supplied) in County Laois.
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. O'Kennedy): Payment due to this applicant under the 1991 beef cow and equines headage scheme is being processed at present and will issue shortly as soon as possible after payments commence under this scheme in December 1991.
134. Mr. Flanagan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when payment of a farm installation aid grant will be made to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. O'Kennedy): It is hoped to have this application determined shortly. If the applicant is found to be eligible payment will be made as soon as possible.
135. Mr. Flanagan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when a sheep subsidy grant will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. O'Kennedy): The first instalment of the 1991 ewe premium was paid on 8 October 1991. The second instalment will be paid as soon as possible after the publication of the relevant EC regulation. This is expected to be within the next three weeks.
136. Mr. Flanagan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when a TB reactor grant will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. O'Kennedy): The TB reactor grant due to the person named will be paid within the next few weeks.
137. Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in Cork has been refused supplementary welfare allowance whilst awaiting her appeal against the decision to reject her application for unemployment assistance in view of the fact that she is living alone and has had no income for the last eight weeks.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): It is understood from the Southern Health Board, who are responsible for the administration of the supplementary welfare allowance scheme in Cork, that the person in question has failed to supply the details necessary to enable her claim for supplementary welfare allowance to be determined. The person claims to be living alone at the address supplied by the Deputy but investigations carried out by the board indicate that this is not the case. The person has been asked to supply evidence of her tenancy or occupation but has not yet done so.
I am assured by the board that the person's application will be speedily processed on receipt of the information requested.
138. Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will outline (1) the number of people receiving a grant under the national fuel scheme in 1991 and (2) the numbers who were in receipt of this benefit in (a) 1988, (b) 1989, (c) 1990 and (d) the projected numbers for 1992.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The national fuel scheme is intended to assist households who are dependent on long term social welfare  or health board payments and who are unable to provide for their own heating needs.
I have made a number of improvements to the national fuel scheme since 1988 which have extended the categories of recipients eligible for the scheme.
The number of recipients of an allowance under the national fuel scheme for the years 1988 to 1990 together with the estimated number of recipients in 1991 and 1992 are set out in the following table:
National Fuel Scheme.
|Year||Number of Recipients|
In addition, an estimated 74,000 households who reside in the built-up areas of Dublin will qualify in 1991 for an allowance under the smokeless fuel allowance scheme. I introduced this scheme in 1990 to compensate households for the additional costs arising from the ban on the burning of bituminous coal in these areas.
139. Mr. Harte asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will outline the way he is implementing the recommendations contained in the report of the Commission on Social Welfare; if he will further outline the progress which he has made to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): There were four main recommendations in the report of the Commission on Social Welfare and action has been taken on all of these. These are improvement in basic payments; improved child income support; broadening the insurance base; and improvement in delivery of service.
 Since last July, all long term rates of social welfare payments either reach or exceed the Commission on Social Welfare's priority rate which is £54.60 in 1991 terms. People who are receiving old age non-contributory pensions, long term unemployment assistance, pre-retirement allowance and disabled person's maintenance allowance now have a new weekly personal rate of £55.
Short term payments such as disability benefit, unemployment benefit, short term unemployment assistance and supplementary welfare allowance were increased to a new personal weekly rate of £50. This represents increases of between 4.2 per cent and 11.1 per cent and is a major step towards achieving the commission's priority rate by 1993 for these short term payments.
Under the Programme for Economic and Social Progress the Government are committed to the achievement of the Commission on Social Welfare's priority rate for all by 1993. Thereafter, social welfare rates will be increased in accordance with the commission's recommendations as the resources of the economy grow. The extra cost of achieving the commission's main rates is £327 million in 1990 terms.
In 1987, there were 36 child dependant rates with a minimum rate of £6. In the 1991 budget, the minimum child dependant rate was increased to £12 representing a 100 per cent increase. The number of rates was streamlined to there. Also, child dependant allowances were extended to age 21 in respect of the child dependants of all long term recipients where the child remains in full-time education. Other improvements in child-related payments were the payment of the higher child benefit of £22.90 in respect of the fourth child onwards; substantial improvements in the family income supplement scheme including an increase in the income limits and the abolition of the maximum payments. This latter improvement will be of significant help to low earners; the introduction of a back-to-school clothing and footwear allowance scheme providing for families on social welfare, up to £25 each  for children in primary school and £40 for children in second level schools for back-to-school costs.
Under the Programme for Economic and Social Progress, the Government are also committed to providing the resources needed to implement the additional child income support measures recommended by the Commission on Social Welfare — some £69 million in 1990 terms — over the ten year period of the programme. The particular measures taken will be decided in the light of up-to-date information on child and family circumstances and taking account of available resources.
Another major development, in line with the commission's recommendations, was the extension by me with effect from April 1988 of social insurance cover for pensions to the self-employed, including farmers.
The major and ongoing improvements which I have made in the quality, efficiency and delivery of social welfare services are in line with recommendations made by the commission in this area. The Social Welfare Act which I introduced in 1990 provided, inter alia, for significant and wide-ranging changes to the appeals system. Appeals are now made directly to an independent social welfare appeals office. This office has its own director and chief appeals officer who also has the power to refer questions to the High Court. In addition, unsuccessful appellants receive full details as to why their appeal was disallowed.
I have set up eight regional management centres throughout the country and local officers are being converted into one stop shops for all social welfare services in these areas. This amounts to a major and fundamental re-organisation in the way these services are administered and delivered. This restructuring is resulting in a more local customer oriented service. The local emphasis on social welfare services will transform employment exchanges from dealing solely with unemployment payments into new style centres where pensioners, lone parents and those unemployed through  illness can get all the social welfare services, advice and information they need. The new local service means less frequent signing on for people who are unemployed and a speedier service for customers.
There has been unparalleled progress in the various aspects of my Department's work since 1987. The Programme for Economic and Social Progress has set the agenda for further progress and action on the recommendations of the report of the Commission on Social Welfare.
140. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Justice if he will outline the way he intends to address the increasing problem of under age drinking; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Justice (Mr. Burke): The Intoxicating Liquor Act, 1988, introduced a wide range of measures which provide a solid framework within which the problem of under-age drinking is being tackled. The basic approach behind these measures is to make it as difficult as legislatively feasible for a person under 18 years of age, lawfuly to purchase alcohol or to get possession of it or to consume it other than in a private residence, and, where he or she gets possession, to make it possible for the gardaí to seize it.
As I have stated on a number of previous occasions, and as I am sure the Deputy will readily appreciate, the problem of under-age drinking cannot be solved by legislation alone. The social, cultural and economic factors involved in the problem of under-age drinking must be taken into consideration. It is for this reason that I continue to promote and encourage the idea of community based initiatives and I have encouraged the Garda Síochána to become involved in organising and assisting such local initiatives to deal with alcohol and other substance abuse. I am informed by the Garda authorities of Garda involvement in 26 existing voluntary local identity card schemes, including four schemes in the Dublin  metropolitan area, which are by and large operating successfully. I understand that moves are afoot to establish further schemes in other areas.
My colleague, the Minister for Health, has previously given the House details of programmes for the education of young people on the dangers of alcohol abuse.
I should also mention that the programme of school visitation by the Garda Síochána is being expanded. The schools involved have regular visits from members of the force who give talks and lead classroom discussions on a range of topics including the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. The probation and welfare service in my Department is also involved in alcohol and drug education programmes for young people. The operation of these programmes will be kept under review.
141. Mr. McGrath asked the Minister for Justice if he will outline the crime figures for County Westmeath for (1) 1990 and (2) up to 30 September 1991, if he will further outline the figures for the main towns in County Westmeath in these periods; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Justice (Mr. Burke): Crime statistics are recorded on the basis of Garda sub-districts rather than towns or counties. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the number of indictable crimes recorded in the sub-districts of Athlone, Mullingar, Moate, Kilbeggan, Kinnegad and Castlepollard for 1990 are as set out in the following tabular statement. Figures for 1991 are not yet finalised.
142. Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for the Environment the reason for the delay in issuing the final payment of the mortgage subsidy to a person (details supplied) in County Waterford which was due for payment in June 1991; and if he will ensure that payment issues forthwith.
Minister of State at the Department of the Environment (Mr. Connolly): The receipt of a claim form duly certified by the lending agency is awaited.
143. Mr. J. Higgins asked the Minister for the Environment the reason for the delay in processing the appeal of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo in respect of a house improvement grant.
Minister of State at the Department of the Environment (Mr. Connolly): The receipt of additional information requested is awaited.
144. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment if he intends to allocate any of the proposed new taxi plates to any of the towns or villages in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
147. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for the Environment if he will outline the way the figure of 100 new taxi licences was derived; whether he has (1) consulted with any taxi association in connection with the issue of additional licences or (2) has received any submissions from the taxi industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for the Environment (Mr. Flynn): I propose to take Questions Nos. 144 and 147 together.
The decision to authorise the grant of 100 new licences in respect of the Dublin  taximeter area gives effect to a recommendation of an inter-departmental committee which I set up last May to review the laws relating to the operation of small public service vehicles generally. Before submitting interim recommendations to me, the committee invited submissions in writing from interested bodies and members of the general public.
A large number of submissions were received and considered, including submissions from various groups involved in the taxi industry. The committee also met with members of the Irish Taxi Federation and other bodies, and due account was taken of their views.
The regulations which I made on 24 October 1991 provide both for the extension of the Dublin taximeter area to take in built-up areas like Leixlip, Maynooth, Shankill and Bray, and for 100 new licences — the minimum considered to be necessary to secure an adequate service in the extended taximeter area. The granting of these licences is a matter for the Garda Commissioner. New and existing licence holders will be entitled to provide a service in the extended Dublin taximeter area.
145. Mr. Allen asked the Minister for the Environment if he will publish the results of the assessment of the scale of homelessness carried out by local authorities and which were due to have been completed by 31 March 1991; if so, when; and if these results will include the following: (a) the methodology utilised by each local authority in drawing up the figures and (b) the level of consultation which each local authority had with voluntary organisations which would provide accommodation or work with homeless people.
146. Mr. Allen asked the Minister for the Environment if he will publish the reports which local authorities have been instructed to make by 31 May 1991 in regard to establishing formal and ongoing liaison arrangements with voluntary bodies which provide accommodation for homeless people; and if so, when.
Minister for the Environment (Mr. Flynn): I propose to take Questions Nos. 145 and 146 together.
Reports are still outstanding from a number of housing authorities on the assessment of the scale of homelessness in their areas and on the liaison arrangements the authorities have established with voluntary bodies providing accommodation for homeless persons in their areas. When all of the returns on the assessment of the scale of homelessness have been received and analysed, the results will be published. The reports on the liaison arrangements are different in nature and it is not proposed to publish a report on them.
In carrying out the assessments, housing authorities were requested to have regard to the appropriate provision of the guidelines in regard to the accommodation needs of homeless persons and, in particular, the emphasis the guidelines put on consultation and liaison with health boards and voluntary bodies working on behalf of homeless persons.
148. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Health the reason payment of disabled person's maintenance allowance has been restricted in cases where both spouses have a disability since the rate of payment is intended to help recipients deal with the extra costs of having a disability which do not diminish in any way when living with another person with a disability.
Minister for Health (Dr. O'Hanlon): The disabled person's maintenance allowance is designed to enable people to provide for their maintenance, who because of their disability, cannot work and are not in a position to maintain themselves.
The practice had been that, in the case of couples, payment was on the basis of one full allowance and a dependant's  allowance where either both spouses were entitled to a DPMA or where one spouse was entitled to a social welfare payment and the other to a DPMA. In 1988, however, the High Court found that, in the case of a couple where one partner was in receipt of a social welfare payment and the other in receipt of a DPMA, each was entitled to payment of their respective allowances at the full single rate in line with similar payments made to cohabiting couples. The DPMA regulations have now been amended so that married and cohabiting couples are treated in the same way as under the schemes operated by the Department of Social Welfare.
Interim arrangements have been put in place which provide that no couple currently in receipt of an allowance actually suffers a reduction in income as a result of the amendment.
Apart from the DPMA the needs of persons with a disability are provided for in a variety of ways, that is, mobility allowance, long term illness scheme, drugs subsidy and refund schemes, provision of technical aids and appliances, tax reliefs, housing grants, etc. In addition there are other support services for people with disabilities such as home helps, day and respite care and vocational training services.
149. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Health if he will give details on the present arrangements between health authorities and consultants, non-consultant hospital doctors and general practitioners regarding the payment of premiums for medical negligence; and if he will outline whether the amount of the premium paid from public resources is linked to the proportion of the doctor's patients who are being seen publicly rather than privately.
Minister for Health (Dr. O'Hanlon): All medical practitioners employed in the public health services are required to  insure themselves against claims for negligence or malpractice. The cost of this insurance is reimbursed on the following basis: Under the terms of the revised consultants' contract, hospital consultants holding “geographical wholetime” appointments, that is those whose private practice is conducted on the site of their public hospital appointment, have 90 per cent of the premium refunded. Those who hold appointments granting the right to “off site” private practice have 80 per cent of the premium refunded. This approach has been adopted as it would not be practical to match the exact proportion of the premium to be refunded to the precise division between each consultant's public and private practice.
Non-consultant hospital doctors receive a refund equivalent to 90 per cent of the net cost — net of the appropriate income tax allowance — of their insurance premium.
Non-consultant hospital doctors have no private practice. The 10 per cent of the premium which is not refunded is in respect of the other non-insurance benefits provided by membership of the medical defence organisations.
The review of the GMS contract, which was completed earlier this year, recommended that with effect from 1 January 1992, general practitioners be reimbursed a percentage of the net cost of their medical indemnity subscriptions based on the numbers of medical card patients on their panels.
150. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Health if he will outline funding he has provided to date in support of the Hospice Movement's project for a new hospice in Raheny, Dublin 5; and if he will give details of any funding which will be provided in the future.
Minister for Health (Dr. O'Hanlon): I allocated a grant of £100,000 from the health allocation of the national lottery proceeds to the St. Francis Hospice in December 1989. I have also made  £50,000 available from the health allocation of the national lottery proceeds to the St. Francis Hospice homecare service in 1991.
Discussions are ongoing with the authorities of St. Francis Hospice and the Eastern Health Board regarding this service and I hope that my Department will be in a position to finalise the level of funding for 1992 in the coming weeks.
Development of day care and domiciliary care services is most desirable and is in line with my Department's policy of developing care services in the community where possible.
151. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Health if he will outline the reasons persons who are accepted as capable of providing a general practitioner service to private patients cannot be admitted to the list of doctors who are eligible to have a panel of public patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Health (Dr. O'Hanlon): General practitioners are granted entry to the GMS scheme on the basis of the following: open competition for vacancies that arise; open competition for posts of assistant with a view to partnership; doctors who have established themselves in wholetime general practice prior to 1 January 1989 are granted right of entry on completion of five years' continuous practice in the one location.
The main method of entry to the GMS scheme is by way of open competition. The principle of open competition applies in the interest of ensuring the highest level of service to medical card holders.
These arrangements have been the subject of negotiations and agreement between successive Ministers for Health and the Irish Medical Organisation since the inception of the scheme and are currently under review.
152. Tomás Mac Giolla asked the Minister for Education if she will assure parents, teachers and candidates for next year's junior certificate examinations that the results will be published well in advance of the re-opening of schools so as to allow the results assist all concerned in choosing subjects for the following year.
Minister for Education (Mrs. O'Rourke): The results of the intermediate certificate examination have been issued progressively earlier each year over the last five years. The results of the junior certificate examination will be issued at the earliest possible date.
153. Mr. J. Mitchell asked the Minister for Education when the proposed rebuilding of the Central Model Schools, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, will be approved; if she will outline the likely date for commencement and completion of work; and if she will confirm that she has no intention of abandoning this scheme.
Minister for Education (Mrs. O'Rourke): I have approved the re-construction and re-furbishment of the Central Model Schools, Dublin 1. Tender documents for the project are in course of preparation and these will be completed at the earliest possible date. I am not in a position at this stage to say when a contract will be placed.
154. Mr. McCartan asked the Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications if it is intended to issue a special postage stamp to mark the 400th anniversary of the foundation of Trinity College, Dublin 2.
Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications (Mr. S. Brennan): It has  been decided to issue two such stamps in 1992.
155. Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications if his attention has been drawn to the anxiety caused by the omission from the Revised Programme for Government of any reference to the need for a hub development at Shannon Airport using American airlines prior to 1993; and whether the deregulation of 1993 will mean that bilateral agreements with the USA will then become obsolete.
Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications (Mr. S. Brennan): While there is no specific reference to the development of Shannon Airport as an international hub in the recent review of the current Programme for Government, the House is aware from questions I have answered on this subject over the course of the last year or more, that I have been giving Aer Rianta, Shannon Development and Aer Lingus every encouragement in their efforts to promote Shannon Airport as an international hub airport. Earlier this year, I authorised the commencement of air services by Aeroflot between Shannon and Miami, Washington and Gander and I understand that services between Shannon and Miami and Washington have been operating successfully since April last. I understand also that Aer Rianta and Aer Lingus have recently concluded an arrangement with a Soviet regional airline whereby that airline will feed traffic between Minsk and the US via Shannon using Aer Lingus transatlantic services. The service is expected to commence on 2 December 1991.
As to the status of bilateral air transport agreements in 1993, I should explain that the current liberalisation of air transport within the Community forms part of the process of completing the internal market in air transport by 1993. This does not directly affect relations between  member states and third countries. Bilateral agreements between member states and third countries will, therefore, remain in place until such time as the Community concludes air transport agreements with such countries, whether on a bilateral or multilateral basis.
Some progress has been made on developing a Community external policy towards third countries. Negotiations on an air transport agreement between the Community and Norway and Sweden are close to completion. The Commission has not, yet, however, formulated proposals for agreements with other third countries.