Thursday, 9 July 1987
Seanad Eireann Debate
This calls for the inclusion of voluntary organisations so that they can form part of the web of the direct and indirect relationships of both An Foras and the subsidiary. While voluntary organisations might not be in the structure they play a very important role. Voluntary organisations also solve problems in particular areas and there is a great similarity between them and other bodies who have access to the services. Therefore, they should be included with community groups, co-operative workers, etc., as their behavioural patterns are very similar.
Minister for Labour (Mr. B. Ahern): I do not disagree with the comments about voluntary organisations made by Senator  Harte, but the purpose of section 4 (1) (f) is to allow FÁS to operate community-based enterprise activities such as the community enterprise programme which is well known as CEP and operated by the Youth Employment Agency. Many of the community groups assisted under the programme are voluntary and a great many of the better known schemes in the city were undertaken by voluntary bodies, as Senator Harte and I know.
The community aspect of the projects is significant therefore, voluntary organisations are not excluded provided their project activities are community-orientated and that the community element takes precedence. However, it would not be appropriate to include a specific reference to voluntary organisations in the Bill as this would widen the scope of the programmes beyond their present objectives. The existing Manpower agencies assist voluntary organisations through employment and training schemes, other than the community enterprise programme, and this will continue to be part of the work and functions of FÁS when it is established next year.
This amendment deals with employment outside the State. It is a little strange to confine ourselves to the EC. We are using  the term “outside the State” to embrace other places such as Northern Ireland and America. People might go to Third World countries on a voluntary basis and would need advice or service either from An Foras or the subsidiary, particularly the subsidiary.
A lot of money has been spent on training people, trying to place them and not being successful. Although the State pays money to them to help them over their financial difficulties by means of the dole or unemployment assistance, it is not prepared to go a little bit further and give support outside the EC, in the sense of having access to the subsidiary. This is illogical. Many Irish people have problems in America because they are there illegally and perhaps service and advice could be provided for them. Perhaps the Minister will consider this.
Mr. B. Ahern: The European Community is a single labour market and there is freedom of movement between member states. The EC operates an international vacancy notification and job placement service for all the countries. It is like one Manpower authority for the EC which helps to ensure that people who take up employment abroad are advised and informed about conditions in the country and the place of work and will be supported by a Government agency if necessary. The National Manpower Service are responsible for implementing these procedures in this country and section 4(1)(g) will enable the new organisation to continue this work.
The amendment of section 4(1)(g) as requested by Senator Harte to apply to all countries outside the State would not be possible on practical and legal grounds. Apart from the fact that the detailed information would not be readily available on the employment labour market in these countries, the filling of jobs — how they would be filled and by whom — would be a matter for the country concerned. This would involve work permits, visas and so on which would not be readily within our control or within the control of the agreements  that cover the European Community. I am advised that if this amendment were accepted, the FÁS organisation would be obliged to assist persons to obtain employment in a country in any part of the world such as the United States, Australia or Japan and that would not be possible. What we do attempt to do — and what the National Manpower Service are increasingly attempting to do — is to provide assistance, advice and even discouragement at times — advising people to make sure they have made the appropriate arrangements or have thought out their actions fully before they leave this country. It is intended to extend the provisions of that programme in National Manpower offices throughout the country to ensure that the young people about whom Senator Harte was concerned would not leave the country without any practical knowledge or experience or without having thought out their plans. This will ensure that they can be advised appropriately. The staff of the National Manpower offices will be on hand to advise these young people. For the reasons given, it would not be possible to accept the amendments.
Mr. Harte: It seems to me that the technological improvements will proceed at an even faster rate. Inevitably that will result in growth in urban population and in unemployment. Simultaneously the safety valve of emigration is being introduced except that its targets are somewhat wider now that we are members of the EC. It appears to me that An Foras will train some of these people who, if you like, have suffered as a result of free market vandalism. Some people will seek training but not all of them. There are people who can be trained for jobs outside the country. In effect, therefore, is the Minister saying that while we will train everybody we cannot train in skills for use outside this country even within the EC?
Mr. Kennedy: It is only appropriate that I would acknowledge that the basis of almost all of the amendments and their substantive content arose as a result of a  document submitted to Senators by the network for youth participation projects development group, Artane. I should like to compliment this group, and congratulate them for their submission of these amendments for consideration.
That being said I am very happy with the provisions of this Bill. They meet almost all of our objectives. I am happy in the knowledge that the Minister for Labour will have amendments or suggestions examined and scrutinised. I merely want to acknowledge the submission made to us. I do not table amendments just for the sake of amendment. I have amendments to the Schedule only.
Mr. B. Ahern: I agree with the Senator that any organisation that goes to the trouble — and a number of them have been in touch with my Department putting suggestions forward — are to be complimented. While we cannot always accept such suggestions they do merit examination. As FÁS develops these suggestions may not necessarily be written into legislation but will be taken into account in their operations.
To clarify the position for Senator Harte I should say that any scheme, course, or whatever available within this country to people who apply for them are available to anybody. What happens thereafter is another matter. If the Senator is asking me if a person who undertakes a course of study or training here leaves the country, can we then assist in getting them a job in the United States, New Zealand, Japan or wherever, the answer is “no”. We can train anybody eligible for a course here. They will reap the benefits of such a course. But there our responsibility ends. When they go abroad we cannot assist them but, within the EC, we can.
As I explained, the European Community constitutes a single labour market and there is freedom of movement of workers between the member states. The fact that the EC operates an international vacancy notification and job placement service, must help people who leave our shores within the EC region. But we cannot extend those facilities beyond  that. For practical and legal purposes that would not be possible. The National Manpower Service and my predecessor are very conscious of this aspect. Indeed my predecessor started much of the work in this area. Officials within my Department try to ensure that people will not leave the country without being aware of the pitfalls and dangers ahead of them. Every possible advice is given such potential emigrants. That is what the Bill seeks to achieve. The reason the words “in a state that is a member of the European Communities” have been inserted in the Bill is that it is only within the European Communities that we can have any real power to assist such people.
Mr. Harte: I certainly do not think it would be the job of this body or its subsidiary to place people in employment. I would like to eliminate the apparent confusion here. If that were the case we would all be placing our relatives fairly quickly. I do not think that is what is meant at all. In a country say, outside the EC where there is a skill available which is not available here — in that we have a subsidiary for selling services outside the country — can an Irish citizen not avail of such courses to equip himself for the job market obtaining in that country?
I mentioned on the Second Stage debate last week AnCO have won a major contract in Indonesia, have been competing and been successful in some of those areas. When they win a contract they export some of our experts to help people on some of those programmes. That is an entirely different matter from one of our citizens wishing to go to the United States or elsewhere and obtain training there. It is within the EC only that we can help such people in their job seeking task. Perhaps some day there will be — outside the EC context — an organisation that will help such people. But such is non-existent at present. The National Manpower Service will advise  anybody wishing to emigrate regardless of where but we cannot go any further than that. Again the amendment seeks to delete “in a state that is a member of the European Communities” and substitute the words “outside the State”, it would not be practical or legal for us to do so. I hope the Senator will accept that. The Senator's concern is covered in so far as the National Manpower Service and the new body, FÁS, will be concerned with endeavouring to assist with advice anybody wishing to emigrate.
“(h) to collect, collate, prepare, publish and distribute such data and information in relation to its services or activities, in co-operation with the Central Statistics Office, as the Minister may specify.”
The real concern here is that people are worried about the danger of duplication between the Central Statistics Office and An Foras and they believe that the rewritten paragraph might ensure that this would not happen. What they are saying in essence is that there is enough duplication going on and the whole purpose of this Bill is to cut out duplication and overlapping and, instead of having a whole plethora of agencies, to bring them all together. They are afraid this might happen. I will not ask the Minister to reply to this amendment but that is the concern.
We have dealt with some of these points in some of the other sections. It is a  question of helping Irish non-residents in particular with regard to our emigrants in North America and the North of Ireland. An Foras are going to give a service outside the State. This is similar to the other argument. Since the Minister has fully responded to the first few amendments, this is not necessarily the sort of amendment he will have to reply to, from my point of view. I do not know whether Senator Ryan would want to press it.
Non-residents would have the right to avail of the service and that would have been written in for their benefit if the Minister had agreed to the amendments. I do not see this amendment as being anything other than trying to qualify the other one, had the other amendment been accepted by the Minister.
The position here is that we are asking that “An Foras” be deleted and that it be replaced by “the subsidiary”. The point is that the additional functions should be conferred on the subsidiary because it appears that An Foras will have an awful lot of strength, both directly and indirectly, and therefore there is the  question of the whole delegation of authority particularly as a more effective way of dealing with the additional functions. An Foras may not have the legal right to delegate these additional functions. What the Minister will have to decide at this point is whether the functions remain with An Foras or, in fact, are delegated to a subsidiary body.
Mr. B. Ahern: There seems to be some confusion. I must explain that “the subsidiary” in the legislation is purely for overseas commercial operations. If there is a particular expertise needed by a contractor and one of our agencies here could usefully put together a package and try to tender for a contract abroad in either training requirements or some other expertise which they have they could use that expertise. It is not for anything else so the points made by the Senator do not apply. Any other power rests with the FÁS organisation and it is only in that capacity that the subsidiary have any particular role.
Mr. Harte: That clarifies the position. This particular group of amendments were put down because people are very concerned, in general, about the way the other bodies functioned before this proposed merger. Naturally people want to try to get it as nearly right as possible. Many people who visited me in the past had very bad experiences particularly with Manpower even though Manpower are the Civil Service side of the operation.  Many of the problems seemed to lie there.
The danger is that this is a reinvestment of a failed structure that might have less public accountability by, on the one side, becoming overloaded and, on the other side, not being fully occupied. We are trying to see if any scope exists — instead of An Foras taking on all additional functions despite the fact that the commercial activities of the subsidiary are the only activities that can go on outside the State — for some extra work being channelled through the subsidiary where we think people may have quicker access to it.
Mr. B. Ahern: To go back over some of those points, section 5 is a contingency provision to enable the Minister to confer additional functions on FÁS if the need arises. It is expected that this provision will be invoked very rarely. It might happen that FÁS would be unable to carry out some activity in the future because it is not mentioned in section 4. That is what Senator Harte is requesting and that is what section 5 is for.
However, the conferral of additional functions will be subject to the approval of the Oireachtas and these functions must be connected with those specified under section 4, so there will be no major departure from the statutory mandate. The thrust of the proposed amendment would mean that such additional powers could not be conferred on FÁS. We could not accept this. The role of the subsidiary which would be wholly owned by FÁS, as I have already stated, will be the operation of activities overseas on a commercial basis. Therefore, any additional functions for the subsidiary must be conferred through the main organisation, through FÁS. It would be inappropriate to allow additional functions to be conferred on the subsidiary and not on their parent body. From what Senator Harte has said section 5, which is the contingency provision to allow the Minister to confer additional functions, probably overcomes his difficulty.
We will come later to the position on accountability but I have to say that the difficulties which I know would never  have been intentional have arisen in these organisations because of their changing role over the past 20 years in clearing their programme. The plans and schemes are far tighter in this legislation than in any of the other Bills such as those setting up the Youth Employment Agency and the AnCO organisation. I hope that satisfies the thrust of what Senator Harte is seeking to ensure, that the organisation is not hamstrung, in that it can move if there is some area into which it is necessary to move.
The concern in this amendment relates to the question of one State body making reports to other State agencies when it would be possible to hand over the work to selected auditors. With regard to the issuing of reports, particularly when taxpayers' money is involved, there would be nothing wrong with the Minister appointing an auditor. In so doing we would not have to rely on the same source to report on how the taxpayers' money is used. Reports on the financial aspects and the workings of An Foras might get bogged down if things are left the way they are at present and responsibility for reports is not given to individuals.
Amendment No. 10 is consequential on this amendment. In order to complement amendment No. 9 it was necessary to put it down. Overall, the two  amendments deal with the question of accountability.
Professor Hillery: I follow the point Senator Harte has made but it is worth making the further point that the Comptroller and Auditor General and his Office are highly competent and experienced in this regard and have a wide range of responsibilities for auditing bodies of this sort. The workload of the Comptroller and Auditor General at times seems to be very heavy and I am drawing on my experience of the Joint Committee on State-Sponsored Bodies in that regard. There is no question about the expertise and the competence but at times one would like to see the audit approval coming on line rather quicker than has been the case up to now. I do not think that would be sufficient to add the amendment Senator Harte has in mind.
Mr. B. Ahern: I am afraid that I have to agree with him. The organisation will have a budget of around £200 million. Section 11 is the standard provision for non-commercial State-sponsored bodies. The Industrial Training Act, 1967, which established AnCO contains a similar provision to what is contained in this legislation. It requires the accounts of FÁS to be submitted to the Comptroller and Auditor General. This will ensure greater accountability because the Comptroller and Auditor General is the Oireachtas auditor. The use of other auditors would be unacceptable particularly in relation to the large sums of money involved. Even if these large sums of money do not come from the European Social Fund they are predominantly taxpayers' money and the Comptroller and Auditor General is the only person who would be acceptable to do that work.
Mr. Harte: I will not be moving amendment No. 10 but it is important to explain the context in which it was put down. As I understand it subsidiaries enjoy limited liability. This is important in the context of international trading and professional services where taxpayers' money is involved. A litigation for negligence could cost the agency involved a lot of money. The benefit of limited liability could be stripped if anything goes wrong. The Minister and the company would be held responsible and liable for the debts of a company if anything goes wrong. It might seem strange to say that a special auditor could solve that problem but he may see the danger signs and circumvent any problems that might occur to a limited liability company abroad. This is an area in which great diligence is needed. If a court of law treats a limited liability company as an agent of the Minister and not an independent body the protection that company gets abroad will be removed. It might be more appropriate to have one specific auditor delegated by the Minister to keep an eye on the finances and investments in projects rather than leave responsibility to the normal State agencies.
During the lifetime of the previous Dáil the work of the Committee of Public Accounts progressed and reports of the committee were thoroughly read which is not the norm when committees are not sitting. If the Committee of Public Accounts were able to examine the reports together with the Oireachtas accountability could be extended further.  The public have a right to further disclosure. The committee started off well during the previous Dáil but during the four year period they did not really thrive. This is an area where we could have further vigilance and get more public exposure on how taxpayers' money is dealt with.
Professor Hillery: I share Senator Harte's view about the need for control of expenditure, However, a reading of the Bill indicates that the controls are very tight. When we debated the Bill on Second Stage the point was made that a balance on the policy side has to be struck between flexibility on the one hand and departmental control on the other. There is no room for flexibility in the financial area because that is particularly important and accountability is of the utmost importance.
It is very important for An Foras, when they come into existence, to understand that there will be a rigid approach to expenditure and that plans, programmes, and so on, will be submitted for approval in advance. Because the accounts will be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas, any committee of the House, including the Committee of Public Accounts, can examine them after that. The mechanism is already in place to do that if any committee of the Houses of the Oireachtas decide to do so; there is adequate provision in the Bill. In fairness to the Minister — and, indeed, the provisions of the Bill — the financial controls are very clearly set out already.
Mr. B. Ahern: I understand the points being made by Senators Harte and Hillery. The Committee of Public Accounts are a very important committee to both Houses of the Oireachtas. The normal process is for copies of the annual report to be laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas. It is a matter for each House to make whatever arrangements are necessary for distribution to Members or to the committees. Senator Harte's amendment is covered in so far as it is a matter for the House to decide what is the appropriate committee or committees. In  a report coming from an organisation like FÁS that covers a number of areas both in the training, employment, research on statistics and a number of other areas it is quite likely that more than one committee would be interested in its activities. Senator Harte's point is covered in section 12.
Groups and bodies are set up and after a time, they develop their own dynamism and their own direction. The general direction of the committee or the group for the year should be clearly known. By having it presented to the Oireachtas, as well as the idea of accountability — which has been dealt with three or four times here already — there could also be informed discussion on the work of the group. The work of FÁS is sufficiently important to require this kind of informed and fully fledged debate. This report in a sense will plan the budget of FÁS for the year. If we are to have a responsible type of committee, the Oireachtas should be almost forced to take notice of what is happening and should have all the information available to it in order to have a full discussion on it.
Professor Hillery: I dare say one could argue that a brief summary of the plans of any State body could be justified but there is the question of how far one goes in this. I do not think it would be appropriate for a body to divulge in any substantive detail what it plans to do in the  time ahead. In certain bodies there could be the danger of breaching confidentiality and flexibility is often necessary in such plans. On balance I cannot see the merit in going that far in relation to the year ahead in terms of laying the plans beforehand. I return to a point I made last week in this regard, that the policy unit of the Department of Labour which will be monitoring FÁS should involve itself in that activity and scrutinise the plans.
Mr. Harte: It seems to me that this might give the Minister a little more protection than he has at present. We are talking about expenditure that is not approved. The Minister should think seriously about this. It is a question of extra checks and balances.
Mr. B. Ahern: The points were made by Senator O'Toole. I talked to Senator Brendan Ryan yesterday and he expressed a wish to be in the House today to discuss this Bill. I join with the Senators in wishing him well. He explained to me the seriousness of the operation on one of his children and I hope it goes well.
In relation to this legislation I assured him that we will pass on the details he requires in his amendments. The report referred to in subsection (3) is an integral administrative document which will outline the activities proposed for the following year. It tries to get the programme clearly laid down of the activities to be engaged upon in the following year. The document will be subject to considerable discussion in the context of the Estimates. It would not be appropriate to lay it before the Houses of the Oireachtas. As applies to existing agencies at present, details of the proposed activities and expenditure of FÁS, when finally approved, will be available in the Book of Estimates. It is important also to say that the makeup of FÁS is representative of the social partners involved. There will be a considerable input from various sectors of Irish life.
As Senator Hillery has explained the policy unit in the Department will be anxious to give direction to the priorities  to be taken into account. When the document is passed FÁS and the policy unit in the Department of Labour will have been well debated. It will be debated in this House as part of the Labour Estimate in any year. Perhaps more than most organisations FÁS will be open to the scrutiny not only of this House but of a considerable number of organisations and agencies within the State.
Mr. J. O'Toole: I take the point about disclosing detailed plans for the year. I had not considered this initially. If the Minister could give an indication of the direction when discussing the Book of Estimates I would be quite happy to withdraw the amendment. If the general commitment was given it would not be damaging to the programme or the way forward proposed.
Mr. B. Ahern: The details of the expenditure would go to the agencies under the subheads. Their policy would be outlined in great detail within the House. As well as that — it happens in the Dáil at Question Time — Deputies and Senators can ask questions in debates and get the information which is necessary within the agency. I give the commitment that in the Book of Estimates, the data on how the programme and expenditure will operate will be given.
This amendment is not quite so simple as the last one. Having spent long years working with different structures that tie in with the Department of State, I certainly know from trying to make any procedure work, that there have to be time limits built in to every stage of it. Otherwise if you have a number of stages in development, and there is not a clearly  built in time limit in moving from one section to the other, it could stop dead.
In this section the Minister quite rightly asks that neither An Foras nor any subsidiary should carry out any plan or incur any expenditure until the report has been approved by the Minister for Labour and the Minister for Finance. I agree with that. It is the type of failsafe and accountability that is necessary but, as is written here, it is clear, the Minister could be sitting on the proposal for two years and it could be sitting on his desk gathering dust and the Minister could stand up here week after week and say that the legislation says it cannot go ahead without his approval and as they are full up to their eyes, what with the public service embargo, the hard-pressed officials cannot get around to dealing with it and, therefore, this matter will receive priority. We know the story, and the different formulae off by heart for procrastinating time and time again. I would have to insist that there is some form of failsafe built into this, that there is some bottom line to the period of time beyond which we could not wait. That is the general context, but in a more specific context, as somebody who has to plan educational and training programmes, I know you need time to do these things and that, in fact, you need most of a year to plan for the following year. That in itself is a long enough procedure. If this body, FÁS, have a plan to implement something in 12 months time and they go through all the detailed research and planning and put together what they consider is a proper training or employment programme, whatever the programme happens to be, then they say to the Minister we now need ministerial approval, it seems to me that the formula in this legislation allows the Minister quite simply to opt out, file it in the pending file and let it sit there and there is no comeback on it. I am pushing this amendment. I have worked with groups who have been waiting for months before getting responses, and years before getting action on events and it is all because there is no time limit, whether it is building a school, getting a teacher appointed or  whatever. Unless there is some place where you can say you have got another day, like in planning permission, that it has to be either approved within a certain period of time or else it is deemed to have been approved. I need that assurance in this Bill.
Mr. B. Ahern: The intention and what will happen and must happen according to the legislation is that the programme must be submitted three months prior to the next financial year, so the latest date would be the end of September. This means that the Departments who will examine it in line with the Estimates will give their decision by the end of December. They will give their approval, amendments or whatever prior to the end of the year.
Mr. B. Ahern: That is a commitment. If you ask what they will say, if FÁS or their subsidiary submit a report stating what the organisation wish to do in 1988, I would almost with certainty say that there could well be an amended approval but they will get approval prior to the end of the year because with the operation of the budget, unless that changes, it would all have to be wrapped up in or around the end of the year anyway. The budget would come forward and you would have the Estimates of the Department of Labour in mid-January, so the organisation would have to know prior to the end of the year, and that is the intention.
Mr. B. Ahern: If the report of the FÁS organisation was not to be approved even  in an amended form, it would mean that the entire fairly major organisation of FÁS would come to a standstill. Under the legislation as it is FÁS could submit the report anytime between January and September, and if you take in the three months provision you would be saying that if they submitted the report in July, it would have to be back in September. I think I can assure the Senator that the solemn intention of this Minister and the thrust of the legislation is that the report will be considered within the policy unit of the Department and a decision given prior to the financial year. That is the whole process which has been worked out. If the organisation send in the report with their plans for the next year three months prior to the end of one financial year, there would be an obligation on the Department to come back and say, “this is what your figure of expenditure is and this is what this Government Department wish you to do in the next financial year”. That is a fair point to make and I will put in on the record of the House.
Mr. J. O'Toole: I accept the Minister's good intentions, although I really feel I should push this one a bit further. His solemn intentions, as we well know, can be harshly overridden by Taoisigh, over whom we have no control at all. I accept that if he has given me a commitment — I am not actually seeking approval, or a refusal either, as long as people know where they are going — that the Department will give a reply before 1 January, I will accept it; if the Minister will indicate that that is the position, I will withdraw the amendment on that basis.
Mr. B. Ahern: That is the position. As part of the Estimates, whatever the final day of the Estimates is and that has tended to be in recent years prior to any Christmas, if it is 10 January, because a budget has to come forward to the Dáil in January the Book of Estimates——
I have been looking at this amendment while sitting here and I am not quite happy that I should press the amendment, which reads: “carry on any activity including a day to day activity not specified in the report”. It could be counterproductive for the people who really wanted the word included. Frankly, if the word was included, it might, in fact, take too broad an interpretation so I will not press the amendment.
Mr. J. O'Toole: I move amendment No. 15:
In page 12, subsection (1), line 47, after “any” to insert “confidential”.
My father always said that the worst kind of legislation was the kind of legislation you could not enforce, and I think Homer nodded in the drafting of this. It reads at the moment: “a person shall not, without the consent of An Foras, disclose any information obtained by him while performing duties as a member” etc. I dislike seeing something in legislation which cannot be implemented. To take it to its ridiculous limit, somebody could find out the direction to an employment agency or a training agency through being part of, director of or a member of this body and would be unable under the terms of the legislation to disclose it to anybody. I tell the Minister it is an absolute nonsense. The proposal here is to  put in the word “confidential” because I think that was intended from the very beginning but I do not think it is right——
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Let me interrupt the Senator to suggest that we might discuss amendments Nos. 15 and 16 together. They are alternatives. Is that agreed?
Professor Hillery: It is agreed.
Mr. J. O'Toole: Probably the Minister has a problem here. He wants to get this legislation through and making changes in it at any stage can cause difficulties, but as this is written it is nonsensical. It literally means “any information”. I do not know why the word “any” was put into it because that makes it worse. I have read it again and again and it is not clear from the language there that it refers only to confidential information — at least I hope it was intended to mean only confidential information. However, it does not. I think the word “confidential” should be added and that it should now read: “A person shall not ... disclose any confidential information obtained by him while performing duties as a member, or director, or member of the staff of” etc. I can think of no reason the Minister cannot accept that simple amendment.
Mr. Harte: It seems to me that the people who have to work the agency are being asked to tie their hands to a great extent. There will certainly be occasions when they will have to impart information. Under the present wording of this section if the Minister rang them up for information would they be obliged to give that information? If the Minister's representative or some Member of the Dáil wanted some information relevant to the pursuit of his own business, could they not disclose that information? The present wording would be putting them beyond the access of public representation, and that is not a good thing. The word “confidential” is what matters. I support Senator O'Toole in this.
Mr. B. Ahern: It is clear from the comments of both Senators that they understand the difficulties here. Within the Manpower organisation and other organisations there have been tremendous difficulties and problems with leaks of information. The word “confidential” was discussed at length in relation to this Bill but based on the legal advice a decision was taken against it. The insertion of the word “confidential” would add nothing to the draft and then it would be necessary to define what constitutes “confidential”. That is the legal advice which was given. In other words, in layman's language “confidential” would mean nothing and would not overcome the difficulties which we sought to overcome. So that “any” does not mean every single thing; guidelines will be laid down within the organisation as to what constitutes information which can be issued freely to the public and what is confidential in a way that all Senators and I would consider confidential. To write “confidential” into the document would not give the desired effect. Based on legal advice, “any” is the word which is in the legislation. On the commencement of the new organisation in January the guidelines will be laid down for what is public information and what press officers or information officers can give so that they would have a modus operandi to handle information.
Mr. Harte: The term itself is too broad. The word “confidential” would narrow it down. There is the fear, as I said, that public representatives may be unable to get access to information because the people they would be trying to contact may, because of the way this is written in the Bill, see it as a kind of blanket coverage and that, therefore, they are not free to disclose information. That would be a bad state of affairs. We do not want to get into a hassle with the people who are going to administer these agencies.
Professor Hillery: I do not think that the intention behind the Bill is to prevent any reasonable information being divulged to public representatives or anybody  else. Quite clearly there is a problem in defining what is meant by “confidential”. It seems that the publication of guidelines as to what can be divulged and what cannot is a reasonable compromise in the circumstances.
Mr. J. O'Toole: That does not wear. Any responsible civil servant administering this, asked a question and reading, “A person shall not, without the consent of An Foras, disclose any information” could interpret it only in the way it is written. That is the rule under which people will work. We are sitting here discussing it now and the intention behind it, as Senator Hillery has said. However, the intention is not written into the document and next year or the year after different four people could discuss it somewhere and they would be struck with what is written into the rules. What is written into the rules is quite definite in this case: no information. It raises other issues — if An Cathaoirleach were here she would say that I am going beyond my brief here. It raises things like freedom of information Acts and stuff like that which, of course, I do not intend to discuss at this point. However, I mean to push this question of confidentiality. I do not know whose was the legal advice but many model documents for groups, agencies, etc., use the word “confidential” and the courts have quite often determined the meaning of “confidential”.
On the question of confidentiality, very often in the model documents for the setting up of boards, etc., the group themselves can decide what is or is not confidential information. For instance, the board of management of a primary school may not break confidentiality. The board themselves decide what is confidential in that case. They do not need legal advice. The board simply say, “This item which we are now discussing is confidential and, therefore, may not be disclosed outside this committee”. I think I have been very honest in accepting the arguments put forward since we started to discuss this matter this afternoon. The arguments do not wear in this, and the Minister should accept that and at least  see whether there is a way out.
To wind up, confidentiality can be decided by the group themselves, by the agency or by the committee or, indeed, it could be decided legally. However, as it is written there it is restrictive, too restrictive, and in many ways unworkable because there are members of this agency representing different groups. That does not mean that if there is somebody on this agency representing the trade union movement that person should go back to the general trade union body and say, “That is being discussed next week. Could you give me an indication of how I might vote or how I should go forward in it?” However, at least people should be able to say, “This following genuine issue is being discussed. Could we have a policy position on this which I can put to the board?” etc. This is restricted. It will take from the effectiveness and efficiency of the board. I feel nach bhfuil freagra tugtha dom ar an rud seo.
Mr. B. Ahern: I do not see that argument at all. As a matter of fact, I do not understand the Senator's logic. To put into a Bill a word that then has to be defined when we have obtained legal advice from the parliamentary draftsman that this would not fulfil our wishes is just a nonsense. It is putting in something that is not strong enough. If we were just to take a word that sounds strong but means nothing I do not know what sort of legislation we would be drafting. I was not happy to put in words that did not have the desired effect. It is not to muzzle anybody from saying anything; it is to bring some type of order. If public moneys to the tune of £200 million are being discussed within an organisation, people can come out and give the information to others. It is the duty of the parliamentary draftsman, the sponsoring Minister and the Oireachtas to make sure that the legislation is as right as is necessary. We are not dealing with freedom of information Acts. We are dealing with taxpayers' money and how decisions in relation to it are made. For that reason I  would not, in any circumstances, consider any word other than “any”.
It will be the FÁS organisation, made up of trade union representatives, employer representatives, people from the Department of Labour and from the youth organisations who will decide, where they think it was necessary, to give or not to give information. That organisation will decide on their guidelines.
Senator O'Toole said in the course of the debate on this section that a school body might make such rules but a school body may not have it in legislation. We have it in legislation and the word “confidential” must be defined in the legislation. Putting in “any” and clarifying the guidelines within the organisation is the most satisfactory way of protecting the organisation and of ensuring that the legislation is responsible. Even if there was a difficulty that the organisation could not agree on what was a fair interpretation of the information they could give and on the definition of confidentiality, I could then give a policy directive but it is highly unlikely that would happen. To put in the word “confidentiality” which sounds very strong, “very confidential” or “extremely confidential” would mean nothing. I am advised that the word “any” is far stronger.
Mr. J. O'Toole: I cannot accept that. I said in my presentation that the word “any” is far stronger, that it is too strong, that it is all encompassing and that it does not meet the needs of what the Minister just described. I am a member of a joint committee of both Houses of the Oireachtas and this week the chairperson of the committee, a member of the Minister's party said: “the following item is confidential and members should not discuss it outside the committee.” That was decided on by the committee. It is a perfectly normal method of procedure and there is nothing difficult about it. The committee decide what is procedure and, en passant, rules for shools etc., carry the force of regulations introduced by ministerial order and are accepted by the courts as legislation. The only reason they  are not in legislation is that successive Governments have refused to propose an education Act. The Minister has not responded to the arguments on this matter.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Amendment No. 16 has been discussed with amendment No. 15.
Amendment No. 16 not moved.
Section 13 agreed to.
Sections 14 to 16, inclusive, agreed to.
Mr. J. O'Toole: I move amendment No. 17:
In page 13, subsection (1) (a), between lines 38 and 39, to insert “and any such direction shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas”.
This could not be more topical. In the present atmosphere of cutbacks and rumours of cutbacks it is very difficult to find any information — and I stress any information — on intended cutbacks in any Department. Apart from confidential information which the Minister has already discussed, any information is difficult to get. The plot and the formula at the moment are that there is an inspired leak from a Department to the Press that they are intending to cut back in a particular area and people are prepared for the axe. Little bits of information are let out here and there in such a way that it is almost impossible to respond to them. There is an example in today's newspapers of the cutbacks in education which, of course, are done in a piecemeal fashion and it is impossible therefore to get a tight and total picture of what is happening. The Bill states that the Minister may give a direction in writing to An Foras requiring them to do various things, to refrain from specified  services, to refrain from incurring expenditure of amounts and to refrain from incurring specific kinds of expenditure. I agree with that. It is absolutely right that bodies should be answerable in the same way as Ministers should be answerable. We should all be accountable. The Minister may give a direction in writing to An Foras. An Foras, as we have just discovered, cannot tell anybody about it because the Minister has made it quite clear in the previous section that no information can be disclosed. They may be working on the basis of their budget and their activities being cut back in a way that has not been made public. We are not told the reasons for it. I am saying that where this direction is given to An Foras by the Minister, such direction should be laid before each House of the Oireachtas. We have not put a wall of silence around the workings of An Foras. We are telling them not to give any information on this business because it is confidential information. On the other hand we are saying their activities will be cut back. The people in An Foras cannot tell anybody about what is happening, nobody knows about it and the cutbcks are being made silently and stealthily. It is a beautiful equation but unacceptable.
Mr. B. Ahern: The Senator defeats his own argument when he talks about the vow of silence and confidentiality and says that nobody knows anything and then goes on to explain that he read it all in this morning's paper and believes it, which is even worse.
Mr. J. O'Toole: That was the inspired leak.
Mr. B. Ahern: I hope it was not because I sit at the Cabinet table and I heard none of it.
Mr. J. O'Toole: It was not leaked to the Minister.
Mr. B. Ahern: It would not be appropriate for such directions to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas. The Minister of the day, in his dealings with FÁS,  must be entitled to a certain degree of discretion. What is envisaged in this section is that the Minister can give directions in relation to major programme matters of policy and not minor matters. However, it is expected that this power will be invoked very frequently and only if there is a major conflict of views between the Minister and FÁS which, I hope, will not happen, but it can happen. It will be the responsibility of the Minister in the end to decide on policies. It is unlikely that such powers would need to be invoked but they are necessary where there is a conflict and the Minister of the day is the person who has to decide.
There are few boards in the whole semi-State or State area that are made up of so many outside bodies, groups and organisations as the Manpower service. Last week I read on the front page of The Irish Times about the decisions which one of the Manpower agencies were about to make. It was very kind of The Irish Times to let me know of these serious matters. Unfortunately, it is not a question of confidentiality because if it were, the only person who seemed to be unaware of what was happening was the Minister.
Mr. Harte: It is reported in the newspapers that the Cabinet are discussing further cutbacks and there is a possibility that by the power vested in the Minister by this Bill he will very shortly find that there may have to be a cutback on the money now promised. In my view the amendment is a good one and I support it.
Mr. J. O'Toole: The Minister has not responded to my amendment. I want to explain how it works. The Minister tells An Foras that they will have to cut back on their activities. An Foras cannot talk to anybody because of the confidentiality aspect. They then write to the different training courses — one in Killybegs, one in Limerick and one in Dingle and it is the people at the end of the line who are suffering. The only way we can get at the information is by bringing the people  involved in the Dingle, Limerick and Killybegs courses together and trying to assess where the cutbacks are hitting. I do not believe this serves the public interest in any way. The Minister is on a very weak wicket and he knows it. We will have to wheel them out on this one.
Professor Hillery: On the question of the public interest, the Minister's role must be put in context. His job, as a member of the Government is to give priority to the question of the public interest. He must take a view of the country as a whole and the role of FÁS and their activities. It is precisely because his job is to protect the public interest and to take the broad view that he should have this power. It is also fair to say that we must assume the Minister would behave in a responsible manner in the public interest.
Mr. B. Ahern: I appreciate that Senator O'Toole is doing his duty to ensure that all information will be readily available to the public but the important point is that the Minister for the day would rarely give any direction, and then only if there was a policy difference and no doubt that would be well aired in public. The direction would have to be given in writing, so there is no question of anything happening under the counter or being sidetracked in some way. The Minister is answerable to the Dáil and Seanad and can be questioned. That is the reality. The matter is set out in detail in the Book of Estimates and can be discussed by the Dáil, Seanad and the committees — we spoke earlier about which committees would examine it. There is no question of the Minister of the day being able to do anything in an underhand way. This section would be implemented only where there would be abnormal happenings, where there was a fundamental difference or a policy difference between the organisation and the Minister. It is unlikely that this would happen, but if it did, it would be in the open and there would have to be a direction in writing, followed by a debate. I  do not believe there are any grounds for fear.
Mr. J. O'Toole: I cannot be party to  cutbacks by stealth or otherwise. I think we should wheel them out on this one.
The Committee divided: Tá, 11; Níl, 16.
Ross, Shane P.N.
O'Toole, Martin J.
Téllers: Tá, Senators J. O'Toole and Harte; Níl, Senators W. Ryan and M. O'Toole.
Amendment declared lost.
Section 17 agreed to.
Sections 18 to 27, inclusive, agreed to.
An Cathaoirleach: Amendment No. 19 is consequential on amendment No. 18 Therefore we will discuss amendments Nos. 18 and 19 together.
Mr. J. O'Toole: I move amendment No. 18:
In page 16, before section 28, to insert a new section as follows:
28.—(1) The Minister shall establish for An Foras a Council to be known as the Users' Council.
(2) The Council shall consist of not less than ten and not more than 20 members to be appointed by the Minister.
(3) Each appointment shall be for a period of not more than three years.
(4) The Council may settle its own rules of procedure.
(5) A person who is, for the time being, entitled under the' Standing Orders of either House of the Oireachtas to sit therein as a member or who is a member of the Assembly of the European Communities shall, while he is so entitled or is such a member, be disqualified from becoming a member of the Council or a member of the staff of the Council.
(6) A member of the Council who is nominated as a member of Seanad Éireann or as a candidate for election to either House of the Oireachtas or to  the Assembly of the European Communities or is appointed to such Assembly shall thereupon cease to be a member of the Council.
(7) A member of the Council may resign his office by letter addressed to the Minister and the resignation shall take effect on the date of receipt of the letter by the Minister.
(8) The Minister may remove a member of the Council from office.
We are discussing here the whole area of answerability and responsibility. In this case we believe that the people at the end of the line should have some say in how public moneys are disposed of. We have given power to the Minister. We have given certain powers to An Foras, and to the people involved in its running but we have not considered the client who also deserves a voice in this area. The checks and balances should work all the way down the line, not just at ministerial, Oireachtas and An Foras council level, but right down to the client. A populist Government, such as the present Fianna Fáil Government, would never oppose a users' council. The Minister is looking very benignly on this amendment and perhaps he will surprise me by accepting it because opposition to it is opposition to the people. This amendment makes the Bill more answerable and the legislation more responsible and I commend it to the Minister.
Mr. Harte: The question is one of the accountability and to enable people to have proper access. We will have to overcome the problems we had with other agencies where there were a substantial number of complaints about behavioural patterns, lack of access and so on. The question posed by the amalgamation of these three agencies, to youth in particular, and to those engaged in the network for youth participation projects is if they represent the modern, competent, highly efficient and user orientated service. Others will want to know if it will provide a better and increased service at less cost.
 That is the purpose behind the idea of the Users' Council. As I said earlier people suffer from free market vandalism. That free market vandalism does not humanise the impact of technology on people's lives. This means we must rely on these agencies and should be able to use them to greater effect. There is a great deal of frustration felt, the basic cause of which is the discrimination against the underprivileged in urban society. So many of these people find themselves powerless to change anything. It is largely in urban areas that this problem obtains. Therefore, a Users' Council which afforded them access to services and so on would be of benefit to them.
Mr. B. Ahern: The present agencies — the Youth Employment Agency, the National Manpower Service and AnCO — have made great efforts at every one of their centres to try and involve the local community. If anything, much of their efforts go almost unappreciated by the local community. They are forever endeavouring to involve them in their activities, make them aware of the centres, keeping in touch with local schools, parish committees and so on. It forms a large part of their work. Anybody familiar with the Manpower Service will be aware of their involvement and efforts. That is one area only.
I should say also that the social partners, in particular the Irish Congress of Trade Unions who comprise the largest part of the present organisations will be represented by four members on the new organisation, work very closely with the other employment agencies. All over the country they are setting up employment centres where there are committees of unemployed people. There are well known ones in Dublin city and Senator Harte will be aware of them. I am not as familiar with those elsewhere in the country. I visited recent the Larkin Unemployed Centre on the North Strand and also one of the most progressive centres in the entire country in Ballymun. It is the co-operation among people who  make up the agencies and the local community that renders them so effective. In all the social employment scheme, the Teamwork scheme, and almost every scheme initiated by the employment agencies — and now the new FÁS, there is local community involvement. It is extremely successful.
Perhaps in some areas where there are commercial organisations where people pay for the services provided, and where there is a contractual obligation there is need for Users' Councils. To take the example of the board of FÁS, composed of representatives of so many and varied interests in the labour market, I do not believe such a User's Council is necessary or that there is any desire for it. I have been dealing with the National Manpower Service now for almost seven years. Indeed I was one of the people who argued strongly for this Bill and discussed it with my predecessor. Only since this amendment was put down have I become aware that there was any requirement for a Users' Council.
Unfortunately, I cannot agree with Senator J. O'Toole. I seem to be disagreeing with him all afternoon — which I do not intend — because he has been making some valid points. I do not think there is a desire on the part of the people involved for a Users' Council. I can assure the Senator and the House that the very close liaison obtaining in the operation of all the schemes of the outgoing Manpower agencies will continue under the new agency — more than exists in any other area. The close liaison between the social partners and the various local organisations ensures efficiency, effectiveness and good value for money. But most importantly, communities themselves have a say in how these schemes should operate. The social employment scheme, the Teamwork scheme and so on were the result of communities coming forward with proposals to the agencies, asking them how they would assist them. Then State money was injected, as expertise, by way of various supervisors, co-ordinators and enterprise workers in the agencies going into the  communities and working with them. I do not believe there is a parallel in any other organisation in the Manpower area. Indeed they are to be highly commended. It is on that non-legislative co-operative basis we should continue. I am sure that will happen.
An Cathaoirleach: Is amendment No. 18 withdrawn?
Mr. J. O'Toole: Yes.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 19 not moved.
Mr. Harte: I move amendment No. 20:
In page 16, before section 28, to insert a new section as follows:
28.—For the purposes of processing a complaint by a person against the actions of An Foras, the First Schedule of the Ombudsman Act, 1980 shall be construed to include An Foras.”
This amendment deals with people who might have a grievance and their means of processing such grievance. Action can be taken by any agency. This is a new agency. They are very likely to take action, either by accident or design that will cause people some difficulty and perhaps quite serious difficulty. Having regard to the Ombudsman's success since his appointment — particularly in regard to bodies like the Department of Posts and Telegraphs and so on, where he has done a very substantial job on behalf of the public — we feel that this grievance procedure or mechanism should be available to people who may feel aggrieved as a result of having been badly treated by this agency.
Mr. Manning: I should like to support Senator Harte on this amendment especially in view of the fact that the last two were withdrawn. I would not see there being any great frequency of  recourse to the Ombudsman. There is general acceptance that the office of Ombudsman has worked in an extremely impartial and even-handed way although, like many other Senators, I feel a great sense of unease at present given the savage cutbacks; I think there is about a 25 per cent cutback in the cash allocation to the Ombudsman in the current year. Perhaps it would be inappropriate at this stage, given the degree of cutbacks that office has had to endure, to add another function. In view of the fact that the last amendments were withdrawn, the Minister might think of accepting this one. It would strengthen the provisions of the Bill without causing any extra cost to the Exchequer. Probably it would not be used very often but it would be useful to have it there.
Mr. B. Ahern: I take Senator Manning's point. I do not believe it would be used too much. Perhaps it would be seen or viewed as a type of protection. When I was spokesman on Labour and the Public Service I argued strongly that An Post and Bord Telecom should be brought under the aegis of the Ombudsman. That was done by way of the Ombudsman (Amendment) Order, 1984. That was because of the great public outcry that the Users' Councils largely were unable to make progress with Bord Telecom or An Post in the thousands of difficulties people had experienced. I should say that right from the commencement of the operation of the provisions of the first Ombudsman Act I supported his powers and the idea behind the establishment of his Office. All the Senators who are in regular contact with him will appreciate his great workload and difficulties. I do not believe there is any great desire to burden him with any further work at this stage until he has overcome his present difficulty vis-á-vis Bord Telecom, An Post and so on.
The procedure laid down by Deputy John Boland, when Minister for the Public Service — now under the umbrella of Finance — is that any extensions to that Office should be done by way of the  Ombudsman Act, 1980 through Finance — but not by way of legislation. That would be the proper way. My view would be that a year down the road in FÁS's operations we could ascertain whether there is a necessity to do so. But at present I do not think it necessary. The complaints of any serious nature that come in are almost nil. The serious complaints against any of the agencies in the manpower area would be very different from the usual. There, somebody would be seeking a course or arguing about the terms of a course and the entrants into it. There is a fair amount of flexibility within the organisations to try to cater for those problems. The practical difficulties that any of us dealing with the agencies would know of over the years are normally sorted out through the local centre with the local manager and it is different from a question of getting your billing period amended after it has been clocked up in a computerised operation. Perhaps it might be necessary in the future to start referring complaints to the Ombudsman. The new organisation I see as a positive, constructive organisation to tackle the major problems of unemployment and help the communities. It would be wrong to say that we should start off by referring complaints to the Ombudsman. The new organisation should have their own complaints division. They should be able to deal with their own difficulties and should not require a third party. If at some time in the future they do have that difficulty, then the Department of Finance can be consulted regarding the Ombudsman Act, 1980.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Mr. Harte: I move amendment No. 21:
In page 16, before section 28, to insert a new section as follows:
28.—(1) The Chairman and an ordinary member of An Foras who is either directly or indirectly interested in any industry or enterprise in which An  Foras proposes to carry out its functions under this Act——
(a) shall disclose to An Foras the nature of such interest at the meeting of An Foras at which the question of such functions is first considered or, if he has no such interest at that time, as soon as may be after he has acquired such interest,
(b) shall take no part in any deliberations of An Foras relating to such functions save to such extent as the chairman of the meeting, at which such deliberations take place, may permit, and
(c) shall not vote on a decision relating to such functions.
(2) A disclosure under this section shall be recorded in the minutes of An Foras.
(3) Where the Minister is satisfied that a member of An Foras has failed to comply with the requirements of subsection (1), he may, if he thinks fit, remove that member from An Foras and, in case a person is removed pursuant to this subsection, he shall thenceforth be disqualified from being a member of An Foras.”
I ask that another section be put in before section 28. This is not strictly a business situation but it will be run along business lines. There can be a great conflict of interests if people do not declare, either directly or indirectly, whatever interest they might have in an industry or an enterprise. After being appointed to the board or the subsidiary they may find that an appointment comes their way and, therefore, presents the difficulty of a great conflict of interests. The nature of the interest should be disclosed as quickly as possible. That is the tone of this amendment, to avoid the conflict of interests.
Mr. Manning: Again, I have a certain sympathy with this amendment. It raises a great problem in appointing people to State boards. It seems to be almost a sin  these days for a political party to appoint somebody to a State agency or a State board if that person is seen to have political affiliations. Politicians have no problems with this at all because all of us in politics know that there can be people of great ability who are committed to a particular political party and who would bring great expertise to a State board and would be very much custodians of the public interest.
As far as the media are concerned, it seems to be a mortal sin for any political party to appoint somebody who has strong political views to a State board. I greatly deprecate this tendency. It is lazy, sloppy journalism; it provides for sensationalism, and so on. The last thing we want in legislation is to do things which would inhibit good business people or good people involved in the community from becoming involved in political parties. On the contrary, we should be trying to get them into political parties where they have a lot to offer. This sort of publicity can occasionally inhibit them. Likewise with a board of this sort it may very well benefit from having members with a proven track record. It should be axiomatic that they should not participate in decisions in which they may have a vested interest, that their interests should be declared. Perhaps the Minister expects this will happen in the normal course of events and there is no need for a safeguard. The safeguard may be a little too elaborate if it gets to the point of meeting the Senator's wishes. I would be interested to hear the Minister's reaction to this problem.
Mr. B. Ahern: I understand both points made by the Senators. It would be easy to say that we will write it into the legislation that anyone who serves on the board of FÁS should make a full declaration of interest. The kind of person we are looking for for this and any other organisation is somebody who is of the highest calibre possible. Anyone who has watched the semi-State boards over the years knows that you are asking people who have achieved great successes in their own private capacity to go on a State  board out of public duty, with no reward. It has not been a practice in this country that people who have been on boards have been appointed by successive Governments for their own gain; if anything, they would have lost substantially. In general, there is a great debt of gratitude due for their assistance. They spend a considerable amount of time and because of the many difficulties of State boards, they get a substantial number of headaches from their voluntary involvements because they are, by and large, voluntary involvements except for very small remuneration. I do not think there is any remuneration involved here — a few hundred pounds. That is not going to make any difference to anyone serving on it.
There is a provision in some other legislation but I do not consider this provision appropriate or necessary in this Bill which deals with the establishment of a noncommercial organisation, people who are involved in trying to devise schemes to help the unemployed.
Under section 21 of the schedule, the board of FÁS will regulate their own procedure. It is considered in this situation that such items as declarations of interest would be best handled in this way if they feel that there should be declared interests on a particular project. If they are dealing with something that is big, a purchase of property, or something major, they could ask people to declare interests. This is the normal practice in the case of a non-commecial organisation. On the issue of policy decisions, I could say that people who are on this board of FÁS should declare their interests. I would rather not do that because I do not think it is necessary, unless the Senators really think it is.
Mr. Manning: I do not think it is necessary to go that far but perhaps in the letter of appointment whoever is in the office of Minister at the time might suggest to those who are being so appointed that it is normal practice that, should there be a conflict of interest, there would  be full declaration. I think that would go far enough.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Mr. Harte: I move amendment No. 22:
In page 16, before section 28, to insert a new section as follows:
“28.—An Foras shall, at such times as, and in respect of every period to which, subsection (2) of this section relates, draw up and submit to the Minister for his approval, given by him after consultation with the Minister for Finance, a programme outlining An Foras projected activities (in this section referred to as a ‘strategic plan’).
(2) A strategic plan shall be drawn up by An Foras in respect of the period ending on the 31st day of December, 1992, and shall be submitted not later than six months after the date of the first meeting of An Foras, and thereafter An Foras shall draw up and submit a strategic plan before, and in respect of, each subsequent three-year period and each such report shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas.”
We are talking about a strategic plan and review here. I say this in the sense of a plan rather than the normal programme.
In the private enterprise world Governments are more given to programming; Irish Governments anyway, have been more given to programming rather than detailed economic planning. Detailed economic planning never got any help at all. The safety of generalities was always employed when they were introducing the programming. Maybe there was a good case for that, but I do not think so. We are probably suffering from the effects of not having detailed economic planning before this. It should not be beyond the wit of many people who will be on these boards of both An Foras and the subsidiary. We will have people represented from the economic  field, agriculture, people who are probably well into the idea of knowing the levels of investment in a commercial sense and knowing the business world generally. It is well within their capacity to introduce a strategic plan. The Bill does not provide very much in that direction. With this amendment we are trying to see if the Minister would consider in a serious way how planning can be done on a much more detailed basis than we had to listen to or put up with in the past.
Mr. B. Ahern: Some good points were made by Senator Harte in endeavouring to ensure that the organisation will be working towards a strategic plan and a reviewing of their plans. Just to give the details that he requires the planning and report relationships between FÁS, the Minister and the Department are covered in sections 12 and 17. These require FÁS to submit an annual report outlining their programme of work including expenditure estimates for the coming year. The Minister is empowered also to give directions to FÁS in connection with manpower policy generally and any activities or expenditure of FÁS.
It would not be appropriate to require FÁS to produce a three year plan. However, when FÁS are established and in operation the question of more long term plans can be addressed. My expectation is that a medium term plan will be prepared and I think this is what Senator Harte would like to see them do. However, the one year plan is more important from the point of view of budgets and immediate impact and they should concentrate on this at this stage. In 1988 we will ask them to consider working on medium term plans.
Mr. Harte: If the Minister does get around to detailed planning he might advise FÁS because they will not be communists, they will be good working socialists. I would like to thank the Minister for his reply. I am happy that it will meet the situation.
 Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 28 and 29 agreed to.
An Cathaoirleach: Amendment No. 24 is consequential on amendment No. 23 and they may be discussed together.
Mr. Kennedy: I move amendment No. 23:
In page 17, paragraph 2 (1), line 10, to delete “16” and insert “17”.
The purpose of this amendment is to ensure that a representative of the Union of Voluntary Organisations for the Handicapped shall be appointed as a member of the board of An Foras Aiseanna Saothair — the new national manpower and training authority. As I mentioned on Second Stage the National Economic and Social Council in their publication Manpower Policy in Ireland which was published in December 1985, identified four major sets of objectives for a labour market policy. One of these objectives is the need “To improve the employment opportunities of groups with special labour market problems, and hence to contribute to social equity”. The previous Government in their 1986 White Paper stated: “The Government have decided that the needs of disabled people require the adoption of more flexible criteria.” The voluntary organisations who have displayed such marvellous dedication and commitment in the advancement and promotion of the interests and needs of mentally and physically disabled people should be represented on the board of the new manpower authority.
I welcome the publication by the previous Government of the Green Paper on services for disabled people which was entitled Towards a Full Life. I welcome in particular the comprehensive response of the Union of Voluntary Organisations for the Handicapped to that Green Paper. They are a union who act as an umbrella organisation for approximately 40 voluntary organisations which are  affiliated to them. There is no doubt that many of the problems with which disabled people and professional and voluntary workers have to cope could be more easily eradicated with a greater flexibility within the statutory services to innovate quickly new responses to new ideas. I am sure the Minister will acknowledge that we in Ireland have been very fortunate in having a long tradition of voluntary support services for disabled people. The voluntary organisations have been a major provider of services for disabled and handicapped people. Meaningful arrangements must, therefore, be made for the involvement of the voluntary organisations in the future planning and monitoring of services for disabled people as equal partners. We must ensure that all initiatives and programmes at every level make it possible for disabled people to take part in the designing and organising of such services. I strongly believe, therefore, that the new body should be given a lead responsibility for vocational training leading towards open employment. The voluntary organisations who cater for the needs of the physically and mentally handicapped should be represented on the board of the new employment and training board.
The Union of Voluntary Organisations for the Handicapped to which I have referred are representative of some 40 voluntary organisations including, for example, the Central Remedial Clinic, the Irish Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, the Irish Society for Autistic Children, the Irish Wheelchair Association, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland, the National Association for Cerebral Palsy, the National Association for the Deaf, the National Council for the Blind of Ireland and many more. The Union of Voluntary Organisations in their response to the Green Paper on services for the disabled entitled Towards a Full Life said:
We are concerned that the time has now arrived for the transfer of the placement service of the National  Rehabilitation Board from the Department of Health to the Department of Labour. We have listened long and often to this request and we make it ourselves today.
I am, therefore, making the request to the Minister that the Union of Voluntary Organisations for the Handicapped be represented on this board and I urge the Minister to accept this amendment.
Mr. Manning: The case for the inclusion of this amendment has been made very comprehensively by my colleague, Senator Kennedy. I ask the Minister to look in a very positive way at this amendment which would genuinely have the support of people in all parts of this House.
The amendment is two things. First, it is a gesture of solidarity from the lawmakers as a continuing indication of goodwill towards the handicapped. We have a very good record in this regard. The Minister's Department have a particularly good record and this would be a gesture of further support from this House of the Oireachtas in a week when the question of the provision of further amenities in education and integration for the handicapped has been very much to the forefront.
Second, in a very practical way it would ensure that when the activities of An Foras are being examined in detail by the board there would be present a continuous vigilant voice on behalf of the handicapped. Too often and too easily the needs of the handicapped can be overlooked. Very often people think that they are aware of the special problems of the handicapped and most of us do go out of our way to inform ourselves. Nonetheless we can be insensitive without realising it and we can overlook things which would not be overlooked by a person who is handicapped. There is a very practical reason for this amendment and if it was accepted it would enhance the Bill enormously and I believe it has the support of all Members of the House.
Mr. Harte: I would like to support both  Senator Kennedy and Senator Manning's amendment. I hope that the Minister in the course of his reply will not be thinking strictly in terms of the ratio of disabled people to the rest of the workforce. If the Minister cannot appoint a representative from the Union of Voluntary Organisations for the Handicapped his reason should be much more substantial than that kind of argument. I am not anticipating what the Minister might say because I understand that the ratio is small. In view of what Senator Kennedy said it is very important to make sure that disabled people are represented on the board. Some years ago there was a debate in the Seanad and promises were made in relation to disabled people but nothing materialised. It was left to the voluntary organisations to keep ploughing away and do what they could for the handicapped. I urge the Minister to think seriously about this amendment.
Mr. B. Ahern: First, I should like to commend Senator Kennedy for his contribution on this issue today and last week on Second Stage. It is quite obvious that he has a great knowledge and involvement with the voluntary organisations and particularly the cases that he makes for the voluntary organisations dealing with the handicapped, organisations with which I am perhaps not as familiar as he is. However, I am aware of much of the good work that some of their agencies do. I have had long involvement with the Central Remedial Clinic, and Senator Manning's area is a central part of that organisation, with Saint Joseph's School for Blind and the National League of the Blind. They are excellent organisations and a number of them are based in the heart of my own constituency.
Senator Kennedy has asked what meaningful arrangements can be made for the handicapped. For some time now AnCO have been endeavouring in small ways to improve all their centres nationally to facilitate the handicapped and to ensure that wherever possible handicapped people can participate in their courses. That is a policy decision of AnCO. I am aware from two officials of  my own Department that there is close liaison with the voluntary organisations for the handicapped when they are discussing policy matters.
The case was well made last week by Senator Kennedy on how we can actually do that. I give an undertaking that while I cannot accept the amendments put down I will consult with Senator Kennedy since he has a particular interest and has highlighted that interest in the Seanad debate. I do not think it was even mentioned in the Dáil debate how perhaps we can try to build up some mechanism whereby the handicapped organisations can have a policy input within the Department of Labour. It would be a welcome and encouraging step and would enable their policy views to be taken into account. While much of the work of FÁS would have nothing to do with them, clearly there are areas that are highly important to them. I will undertake to devise some mechanism whereby they could have a policy input.
My difficulty — of my own interest in the cases has been well put by Senator Kennedy and others — is that there has been a strong campaign by a great number of organisations to have representation on FÁS. While it was in the Government White Paper and was referred to in the NESC report it was not in the existing legislation. The previous Government did not change or add any of the organisations that made representations. That was a standard rule across the board which I have followed. Several organisations have made strong cases and are not being mentioned here today. I do not believe they would be making a stronger case than those made by Senator Kennedy.
The best I can do — because I did not get much time between last week and now to see what we can do — is to give an undertaking with regard to the request so well put by Senator Kennedy for meaningful arrangements between the handicapped people and the policy section of the Department and we will try to build in some mechanism where that can be done. Thus, in the substantial areas that affect handicapped people they can in  some way have a direct input into the policy unit. We will ensure we will do that and consult with the UVO with which Senator Kennedy and myself are familiar. Unfortunately for the reasons stated, I cannot agree to the amendments put down but I will undertake to do the work I said.
Mr. Kennedy: I should like to thank the Minister for his kind remarks and for his obvious and genuine interest in having the handicapped services as close as possible to the new agency. However, I must put on record that I am not at all happy with this response. It will not meet the requirements in the two amendments we have tabled. I just quote from a speech made by Mr. John Lynch, Chairman of AnCO and the Youth Employment Agency to the National Social Service Board, a speech delivered on Thursday, 25 June 1986 entiled “Social Policy Issues, the Challenge to Co-operation and Planning and Development.” I will quote one paragraph. This is what Mr. Lynch has to say:
As regards the handicapped, AnCO developed a number of years ago a formal policy in relation to training. AnCO's policy is to provide training for disabled persons who have been assessed as suitable for training on an integrated basis with the able-bodied for open employment. AnCO takes steps to ensure that such persons are facilitated in obtaining training in AnCO as necessary——
This is the crucial point.
——but of course AnCO does not get involved with training more seriously disabled persons.
I think that statement indicates and emphasises in a very significant way the need to have the disabled services and the various voluntary organisations represented by a national umbrella organisation such as the Union of Voluntary Organisations for the handicapped. We are fortunate we have such a national  organisation embracing most of the various services.
I would like to pay a tribute to the Minister for the way he has piloted this Bill not alone through this House but through the other House and for the marvellous interest which he has shown in Manpower policy. However, I regret he is unable to accept the amendments. Unfortunately we cannot withdraw them, because we believe they are very significant.
Mr. B. Ahern: I accept the Senator's position; I know he has been fighting this case for some time. The Seanad will appreciate that that speech was made when I was not Minister for Labour but it is correct so far as it goes. While the AnCO training centres are trying to update and involve themselves in training for the handicapped, there would be all types of practical and medical difficulties in training the more seriously handicapped. The Department of Labour are involved as the co-ordinating Department in respect of the European Social Fund. Great emphasis is put in the Department on the substantial finance achieved for organisations like UVO and centres like CRC and other organisations for the handicapped have been helped physically and mentally through the European Social Fund. This money has allowed for modernisation of centres such as the Rehabilation Institute, CRC, the National League for the Blind, St. Joseph's School for the Blind, the School for the Deaf in Cabra and so many other organisations of which I am very well aware. However, I am not too sure if it would be practicable for AnCO to become directly involved in the more severe cases.
While understanding Senator Kennedy's position, we will as far as we can build up some mechanism to ensure that UVO at least have a policy input although I cannot accept these amendments. A Chathaoirleach, I know you have been a great fighter in my own party over the years for the handicapped. I know there would be unanimous interest in our doing something but it is just the practicality of  how that can best be done. I will try to do that over the coming months.
 Question put “That the figure proposed to be deleted stand”.
The Committee divided: Tá, 17; Níl, 13.
|Bohan, Edward Joseph.
O'Toole, Martin J.
Ross, Shane P.N.
Tellers: Tá, Senators W. Ryan and M. O'Toole; Níl, Senators Daly and Kelleher.
Question declared carried.
Amendment declared lost.
Amendment No. 24 not moved.
Mr. Harte: I move amendment No. 25:
In page 18, between lines 9 and 10, to insert a new subparagraph as follows:
“(7) In appointing the ordinary members of An Foras, the Minister shall have regard to the necessity of ensuring that both sexes are adequately represented on the Board.”
I would not like anyone to get the impression that I am dealing in the question of tokenism or something like that, or that I did not favour equality in its true sense. The purpose of the amendment is to improve the position of women who have been discriminated against on the question of training. The terms of the Employment Equality Act positively discriminate in favour of women, particularly in the area of training. Even though that is laudable in itself, if women who know of women's problems with regard training and how they should be addressed and can lend their expertise to it, are not on the board in equal numbers, the Employment Equality Act will not be implemented in favour of women.
This is one of the main reasons we want women on this board. Apart from that, they can use their knowledge about such matters as training during pregnancy and the difficulties to be faced there. Special units might be needed some time to deal with women who have to re-enter the labour force. Perhaps the agency could go into discussions with other agencies and co-operate with them in this respect. Women can be a great asset in that regard. I am not talking about women for the sake of doing so, I am talking about people. There are very exceptional females who are active in the trade union movement, in the business field and elsewhere who are very much involved in training and in seeing to it that the provisions of the Employment Equality Act are implemented in favour of women in training. There is a need for that. Women have been left behind for years in that  respect and it is necessary to bring them into line.
To a great extent FÁS will provide a form of career guidance, not strictly in a second or third level education sense, but in steering people in the right direction for jobs. This is where the knowledge of a woman who can carry her weight as a board member to the process of inductive and deductive reasoning and who can bring her expertise and knowledge of women's affairs to bear is valuable, particularly in view of discrimination in the Employment Equality Act that I have spoken about. Therefore, it is important that women should be represented here. I am not talking about somebody calling for creches and so forth. I am talking about serious, genuine difficulties that women know about and can give advice on.
Not only can they advise on women affairs in regard to training, but the women I am talking about are equal in capability to the men in the matter we are discussing. I do not like to use the term, but I am not talking about appointing “lame brains”, I am talking about people with ability with the extra dimension of being able to steer An Foras into using the Employment Equality Act correctly in regard to training, placement and people returning to the labour force.
Professor Hillery: I share Senator Harte's views about the contribution women can make to the board of FÁS. Many of them have considerable expertise and insight that could add to the policy making and implementation of FÁS. I also share his view that tokenism should be avoided. It is not just a case of putting women on the board for the sake of women.
However, he has touched on a point there. After all, the body will be made up of representative groups like the ICTU and employer bodies, apart from the ordinary members the Minister will nominate. Therefore, it is up to the nominating bodies like the ICTU and employer interests to take Senator Harte's views into account as well and to  select women on their merit so that they will be perceived as having the qualities, the expertise and the intellectual weight to perform well on the board of FÁS.
Mr. Manning: I have very mixed views about this amendment. Certainly I support the general thrust of it and the objectives Senator Harte is trying to attain. As far as possible there should be some sort of statutory obligation on the Minister to ensure that there is adequate representation of both sexes. Frequently we say that, if we leave it to the good sense and the goodwill of the Minister concerned, other factors may, and often do, intrude I am not making a political point here, but when the Taoiseach was making his 11 nominations to the Seanad this year — they were 11 excellent nominations — we found that there was not even one woman amongst them. I am quite sure that his intention was not to appear to be discriminatory and probably other factors intruded. However, it is not enough just to leave it to good intentions and hope that people will do the right thing. Very often they do not.
On the other hand, I do not like the form of wording in this amendment. In the phrase “the Minister shall have regard to the necessity of ensuring that both sexes are adequately represented on the Board”, the word “adequately” would leave itself open to all sorts of litigation. What is the meaning of the word “adequate”? In one person's book “adequate” could be one woman. For some people that might be one too many. For others “adequate” could mean half of the members of the board; it could mean two or three. It is the sort of expression which could lead to problems later on. People could take legal action against the new authority for that reason. I have very mixed views on it. I like the objective Senator Harte has in mind but I am not sure this is the best way to go about it.
Mr. J. O'Toole: I support this amendment very strongly. The Minister must take into consideration the fact that women constitute almost half of the workforce. Therefore it could be said that  they will be members of representative groups and organisations etc. That is not so because the majority of women in the workforce are in the lower paid section. They constitute the group of people who are at the bottom of the hierarchy of workers. They are the lowest paid workers. They are probably, more than any other large group, the group that most needs and can most benefit from and most avail of training for further job opportunities.
FÁS will certainly have to take on board the need to target groups and to make them more able and ready to avail of employment opportunities. We only have to look at generations of oppression and suppression to see the way women have been treated. We have a duty to bring women forward in every area. I do not see the same difficulty that Senators Manning and Harte see about discriminating positively in favour of women. I support that general idea. This measure is not positive discrimination or reverse discrimination; it is simply a positive proposal in order that women would be represented on the board. Depending on where they come from and where they work people would be able to point out to their colleagues or fellow workers where they could avail of training.
I agree with the general point made by Senator Hillery. He stated that if women have the intellectual capacity they will succeed but unfortunately that is not the case. They have the intellectual capacity but they will not be at the proper level of an organisation or of an organised workforce in order to avail of opportunities. That is a sad fact. This proposal is attempting to create the kind of climate in which we will be able to look back in a couple of years time and say: “There is no longer a need to make special provision for women; they can now come through the system in their right”.
It is the duty of training organisations and groups to give women both the confidence and the competence to avail of job opportunities. That really must be the objective. By attending the training courses they would gain competence and confidence which would enable them to  avail of whatever new initiatives or new job opportunities are there. I urge the Minister to take this on board.
The amendment asks the Minister to have regard to the necessity of ensuring that both sexes are adequately represented on the board. That is not confining him; he will have quite an amount of leeway. Even at the end of the day he could say: “I cannot take this on board but I will do something about it”. I remind the Minister, as he is well aware, that he can nominate two members to the board and his colleague, the Minister for Finance, can nominate one member. If the Minister cannot accept this amendment I ask him to signify his intentions in certain areas. He could do so here in a very positive way and we could see the results in a very short time.
This is the second day in a row something has been discussed in this House in greater detail than it was discussed in the Dáil. I say to the press reporters that this is the way legislation is supposed to operate. I have no doubt in my mind — the Minister will not agree with me — that had this Bill been initiated in the Dáil he would have taken on board many of the proposals put forward today and would have accepted many of the amendments. I am not asking him to reply to that. Most of us sense that is the way the system works. We recognise that if he were to accept some amendments today it would mean recalling the Dáil before he could enact this Bill. There is something wrong with that system. I plead with the Minister to introduce the next legislation in this House where it can be guaranteed that it will get the kind of detailed discussion which will be of help to him and to his officials.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: The Chair is rather loth to interrupt the Senator but it is unusual to make comparisons between the Houses.
Mr. J. O'Toole: I know that and I take back what I said. Our less energetic colleagues in the lower House who are now on their holidays are not here to defend themselves, I take your point. I  hope the Minister will take my point on board and I ask him to accept this amendment.
Mr. Ferris: I support the amendment tabled by my colleague, Senator Harte, to insert a new paragraph. It is not unreasonable to ask the Minister to accept the principle of what Senator Harte is suggesting. He has made a very good case. He is not confining the Minister to numbers but he is concerned, particularly in view of the functions of An Foras, that they will relate to and have an impact on the lives of many women in the workplace. As a result it is appropriate that they should be adequately represented on the board, as Senator Harte stated. He did not mention numbers; he is leaving it to the Minister's discretion to ensure that they are adequately represented.
Some women feel that men can adequately represent their views as is evident in this debate where men alone are speaking about the rights of women. Possibly there is a message to be got from this. Some women feel men put their case for them better than themselves. Whatever the reason, we are of the opinion, based on fair play and the impact that women have on society, that it is important that the Minister should exercise his discretion in this matter. When he and his ministerial colleague make their appointment if the normal representation that Senator Hillery referred to has not taken place through the other nominating bodies — the Minister's will appoint their nominees only when every other nominee has been appointed — the Minister should take it upon himself, under the powers conferred on him by the Act, to ensure that Senator Harte's views in this matter are taken into account and that both sexes are adequately represented.
Of course he wants the Minister to discriminate in favour of the fairer sex. The wording of the amendment is not unreasonable. It is very broad and it gives the Minister the kind of power and flexibility this House wants to give him. I am  sorry that if the reason he cannot accept it is that the legislative procedure which has been referred to by my colleague, Senator O'Toole and which the Chair viewed with alarm, although probably in total agreement——
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: And still does.
Mr. Ferris: It is unfair to presume to give the views of the Chair: Legislation dealt with by Senators is dealt with on the basis of what the legislation should be. If legislation cannot be amended by us that is a reflection on our powers. I hope that is not the reason the Minister may not accept the amendment. I am presuming that he will accept it and I am anxiously awaiting his response to Senator Harte.
Mr. Manning: Senator Ferris referred to a case being made by the male Members of this House. In fairness to our female colleagues, we should put on the record that at this moment the first meeting of the all-party Joint Committee on Women's Affairs is taking place. They are in the House. They can feel happy that the case has been very well made by Senator Ferris and others.
Mr. J. O'Toole: We hope the Joint Committee on Women's Affairs are not comprised of women alone.
Mr. B. Ahern: I thank Senator Harte for this amendment. I have no great hangups about who the nominating bodies appoint, whether they be male or female. Regardless of my personal preference about who I would like to see run the FÁS organisation for the first year or two, it is for the nominating bodies to decide. I will have an input into two of these organisations but in order to maintain management proportions, it has almost been designated whom I will have to nominate.
The point was made by Senator Harte that there are plenty of people in the employers organisations, the Civil Service, the Congress of Trade Unions and  the youth bodies who will be nominating able men and women. To have a balance on the board is a good thing because many of the services, training courses and schemes are open both to males and females. I think that is a valid point. Senator Manning is probably as close to my own views as anybody, it is not necessarily the sex of the appointees that is important but the broad-minded view they adopt.
So that Senators will not feel they were wasting their efforts in July when the Lower House is on holidays, with the exception of the Minister for Labour who was with them last week and this week and will be next week, I want to tell them that the letter to the nominating bodies — including a letter to myself—suggests that women should be considered for appointment to the board but I have to accept an amendment to do that. I know that Senator Harte in his very strong and influential position with the Congress of Trade Unions will also try to sway them to show good example by bringing in some of their quality officers, or at least 50 per cent of the ICTU representation. I am sure some of the female Senators if they were here, would also use their influence with the nominating bodies. What is important is that following the passing of this Bill — and I thank Senators for their co-operation in having it in the House in the month of July — we get the best people for the job. Whether they be male or female, old, young or middle aged is not relevant. What is relevant is that the best people are nominated to do the job.
In all the discussions I had with various groups, nobody raised the point Senator Harte has mentioned. I will discuss this with the relevant people and ask them to consider having some kind of fair, equitable representation of males and females on the board. I will be glad to do that with the compliments of Senator Harte.
Mr. Harte: I am a very simple minded fellow. I detect that the Minister is going to apply the principle of the Employment Equality Act in a training agency and that he will discriminate in favour of women.  I want to put that on the record. On the more serious side I believe the Minister has gone as far as he can. I was toying with the idea of calling a vote but in view of the Minister's reply I think he has gone as far as was practical in all the circumstances. When we read the record of the Minister's statement I trust we will be able to read between the lines, that women will be adequately represented on the board and that the letters he sends out will get the necessary response. I will not push the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Schedule agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment and received for final consideration.
Question proposed: “That the Bill do now pass.”
Minister for Labour (Mr. B. Ahern): May I thank Senators for their co-operation last week and this week in passing this Bill. I take the point made by Senator O'Toole that this is important legislation. It is setting up a State organisation that will have almost 3,000 members and a budget in excess of £200 million. I thank Senators for getting through a great number of amendments, more than I had in the Dáil. The Department of Labour and the Government are very conscious of bringing Bills into the Seanad first and appreciate Senators' efforts. The last Bill from my Department which came through the Seanad was the Workers' Participation Bill and that effort was greatly appreciated. Today's debate was very useful and a number of useful points were raised. Even if amendments cannot always be accepted, it does not take from the fact that the operation of an organisation can benefit from the discussion. What is in legislation is one thing but we have an awful lot in legislation that in practical terms, is not followed through. A number of good points were raised today, particularly those dealing with the  handicapped, which will be very useful in the operation of the new organisation. I will ensure that those points are taken into account.
Question put and agreed to.
|Last Updated: 13/09/2010 22:17:25||Page of 11|