Friday, 26 July 1996
Seanad Éireann Debate
An Cathaoirleach: Amendment No. 2 is related to amendment No. 1 and both  may be discussed together. I want to correct a misprint in amendment No. 2. In the first line of the amendment, the words “maybe” appear as one word. It should, of course, be two separate words.
In page 8, subsection (5), line 8, to delete “shall” and substitute “may be used to promote awareness of the dangers associated with controlled drugs within the meaning of section 2, subsection (1) of the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1977, or may”.
This amendment was moved by the Progressive Democrats in the Dáil, so I do not intend to detain the Minister and the House very long by going through the arguments raised there. We are attempting to designate that the moneys which would accrue to the State as a result of this legislation would be used in a dedicated way to deal with education on drugs and rehabilitation programmes. That is a commendable step.
There were calls when the Criminal Justice (No. 3) Bill, 1993, was going through the House for similar provisions in the Bill. Of course, that Bill allows for the confiscation of proceeds of crime and of drug trafficking when there is a conviction. This is somewhat different, but I suggest strongly that it is the correct way to approach the matter.
I would be disappointed if the Minister was to give me a range of administrative reasons why this cannot be done. We have gone past the point of finding administrative excuses which, in other words, mean that the Department of Finance says there would be difficulties involved in departing from normal practice in respect of Estimates or that it would create accounting difficulties.
This comes back to a point I made on Second Stage. If we are to adopt that type of defence we are being unresponsive to the needs of society. It has got to the point where we cannot hide under these excuses any more if we are to deal effectively with legislation. I would have  more respect for the Minister if she said that she will not do it rather than give me a catalogue of reasons as to why it cannot be done. Increasingly, we are finding refuge under the camouflage of procedural and administrative reasons as to why these matters cannot be done.
It comes back to the question of the different agencies and how they relate to each other. We have Department of Finance legislation and Department of Justice legislation and these structures restrict our ability to deal effectively with these people and bring them to justice.
There is much I could say on the matter and, perhaps, the argument has been well debated in the Dáil. I urge strongly that the Minister accept this amendment. It will be suggested that this will result in the legislation being returned to the Dáil. We will be told that it is urgent and, for that reason, an amendment should not be accepted. I am sorry, but I have to disagree. If there is such a necessity, the Dáil should be recalled to deal with it. It is not a valid excuse.
Mr. Norris: I support the point made so effectively by Senator Dardis. This House has a constitutional responsibility to refine and amend legislation. We cannot be limited in the performance of our duties simply because the Dáil is not in session. We are required to perform the duties and responsibilities laid upon us by the Constitution. If the matter raised is of sufficient weight and importance it must be addressed even if it means some little inconvenience for Members of the other House or the Government. I agree with what Senator Dardis said.
I am pleased that Senator Dardis has a similar amendment. Naturally, I prefer my own because it is more specifically focused. I should not really argue against a colleague's amendment, but it is just that little bit general to use the phrase “promoting the awareness”. I support his amendment in the sense that if it was not possible to accept my amendment then, as a second best, I  would like Senator Dardis's amendment to be accepted.
There are already a certain number of programmes in existence. One must consider the level of deprivation in particular communities. The money generated is generated specifically within and from those communities. I described it earlier as a blood tax exacted by drug barons against these communities. Rather than dissipating the funds in a more generalised educational programme, which I would also welcome, these people who have paid that money in sorrow and misery should at least have those resources put back into their community.
I speak particularly for the north inner city of Dublin where virtually nothing has been done by any administration. Institution after institution, opportunity after opportunity has been stripped out of the North inner city by the city and national authorities. The latest to go is the Bord Fáilte office in O'Connell Street, closed down and transferred to Suffolk Street on the south side. There is not even a kiosk on the north side giving tourist information. Everything is stripped away out of the north inner city. Job opportunities are taken away all the time. It seems only appropriate that that money should be given back into those communities which have nothing.
As I said this morning I am sorry and ashamed that I could not attend the briefing in Buswells Hotel yesterday by members of the different communities and drug addicts and their families. They all said they were indifferent to the idea of asset stripping the Monk, the Abbott, the Penguin, etc. What they really felt was necessary was to get resources back into the community. This seems the most appropriate and efficient way. This money was blood-sucked out of these already deprived areas.
Why should it go into a generalised pool when Government after Government has starved these already deprived areas of resources except on the one  occasion. When Deputy Tony Gregory held the balance of power. I thrilled at the spectacle of Garret FitzGerald and Charlie Haughey paying court to a little office in a tenement in Ballybough. I laughed when I heard the middle classes saying “How dare he make bargains and deals”, as if this was some obscenity that had never been inflicted on political life before. What they were really saying was that people who have no voice, power or influence should never be allowed to bargain. Deputy Gregory was a voice for the voiceless on that occasion. I was delighted. He wrung a commitment to a housing programme from central government with which I totally disagreed but I was glad he did it. It was in the wrong place and I objected strenuously to the destruction of 18th century buildings. We argued hammer and tongs but I was delighted that at least he succeeded to some degree. I got them out of where I did not want them and we compromised. If we are serious about tackling this we must ensure that not only is the money stripped away from these people but it is diverted back into where it will do some good. My colleague, Senator Henry indicated to me at lunch that, like myself, she raised this issue with the Minister previously, so there has been time to consider it. Senator Henry has said she will be very pleased to add her name to this amendment. She will add a very persuasive tone to this discussion and she is prepared to second this amendment.
Dr. Henry: I thank Senator Norris for allowing me to second his amendment. I support the thrust of both amendments but I prefer Senator Norris's amendment. I was interested yesterday when the demonstrators outside the House and who spoke in Buswells said that none of us understood what they were going through. I wish I could say that in the past I had not been in areas like Killinarden and Brookfield and inner city areas. One should be careful about naming places as it casts a slur once an area is described as having problems with drugs. Therefore I will  not name the other areas to which I have been. The demonstrators stood outside with their banners but the same thing is happening in the inner south city, in the north inner city and in the suburbs adjacent to the north inner city.
It is agreed that an enormous amount of the crime committed by Mountjoy Prison inmates is drug related and it is important to remember that the postal addresses of 75 per cent of those in Mountjoy Prison are from five postal areas, within Dublin, and they are not the most salubrious areas. They are the areas where this money should be reinvested because the money has, as Senator Norris said, been kept out of these areas. Last month when we discussed this matter I put the proposition to the Minister who was in the House that whatever moneys were obtained by the confiscation of assets should be ploughed back into the areas from which they had come.
Senator Norris's amendment is broad enough to allow the money to be put into many fields. For example, it could be put into education — the Minister for Education is anxious to have smaller classes in deprived rural and urban areas; it could be spent on a better home school liaison scheme to ensure that parents, many of whom are unemployed, get a better understanding of the importance of schooling for their children.
The Minister for Justice said this morning that she would like to see the probation service expanded, and this is an important area for investment. There are only 200 probation officers and we would need 800 to 900 to have an equivalent per capita ratio as the UK. The Minister could put money into rectifying that shortage. The Garda juvenile liaison scheme could receive more money to better carry out its invaluable work. Almost 90 per cent of the children who become involved in the juvenile liaison scheme as opposed to going before the courts, do not reoffend. Senator O'Toole stressed the importance of dealing with children when they first become involved with crime and this is  particularly important with drug related crime. It is far more difficult to deal with long established addictions than those which are new. I referred to the detoxification units this morning and money might be made available under this proposal.
We talked earlier about sporting facilities and that money might be available to site them in the inner city. I am not the only person to whom Sister Marie Joseph has appealed for what she terms “only £3.5 million” for sporting facilities for the south inner city. Such an amount could become available quite quickly from confiscation. Rather than put the confiscated assets into the great maw of the public purse, the money could be specifically targeted to improve the facilities and standards of education in the deprived areas.
Mrs. Owen: I agree with the intent and the sentiments of the Senators' proposals. We would like to ensure by whatever means possible that additional State resources would go to the areas that have been mentioned. In the short time I have been Minister for Justice I have done what I can to extend the funds at my disposal to the areas which, heretofore, were not considered the responsibility of the Department of Justice — the extension of the youth diversion schemes, the extension of grants to groups such as ICON to deal with drugs in the inner city and to women's organisations so they can carry out research into how the courts deal with sexual abuse victims; the extension of money to the community alert schemes, which is the first time every they have received money from the Department of Justice,  and the extension of facilities and money to the victim support associations.
I do not take the credit for all the improvements. Some of them had been started before I became Minister and I extended and augmented such funding to organisations which may be more in touch on the ground than the State agencies. I know Senators are trying to ensure that, when money begins to become available under this legislation, it would be ringfenced and earmarked. Neither amendment does this. The amendment uses the words “... may be used...”. Section 4 (5) provides that all assets or moneys which accrue for disposal under the legislation go to the central Exchequer for disbursal by the Minister. The Senators have not amended that section. Even from a techncial point of view the amendment does not do what the Senators say.
Mr. Norris: On a point of order, we appreciate that there was a very clear reason for that: technically we were precluded from doing what we would like to do in this area. Our amendments were carefully drafted to prevent them being ruled out on grounds of expending money.
Mrs. Owen: The Senator has made the case for the rest of my argument. Often the Opposition will move amendments like this to create a sense of urgency and direction for the House and the Government of the day to take on board what people would like to see happening with money. However, it would be wrong for Senators to send the message that, because I am not in a position to accept these amendments, I will not take their import and intent back to Government to ensure that, when the need is there, the necessary resources must be diverted from other areas of expenditure. Indeed, the Government has shown its resolve on this both in the past few weeks and previously.
 Taxpayers provide the money. As Minister for Justice I do not, nor does any other Minister, provide it for all the services in this State. Money is sent to the central Exchequer and each Department lobbies for its share under the Estimates system. For example, a Minister once asked me if I thought he had buckets of incoming money from road taxes coming into his office; for many years I have asked why car taxes do not go direct to the local authorities. That money goes to the central Exchequer and is then sent to the councils. It may be argued that they do not get the full amount due, for example from car taxes, but that is another argument.
The intent of the Senators in these amendments is laudable and supportable. However, they do not ringfence the money. Even if they were passed, they would not mean anything to the communities because one would be dependent on the Government of the day to decide where the money would be spent.
More importantly, it will be seven years from the passing of this legislation before any money becomes available. Senator Henry made a valid point to the effect that the amendments might have been better in the 1994 Act. When in Opposition I supported an amendment to this effect but the then Government comprising of Fianna Fáil and Labour did not accept it, probably for some of the technical reasons Senator Dardis does not want me to mention, such as the Estimates process. In that case there was a prospect of money accruing fairly quickly once the regulations were introduced.
However, under this legislation, once the assets are frozen they remain frozen in the hands of a receiver. The only relaxation of the assets during the seven year period would occur if the persons whose assets were frozen goes to court to claim that they needed money to maintain their families. An even more compelling reason is that not a single penny will be available from this for seven years. I do not think Senators do not want drugs awareness programmes  or facilities to be established in those communities except through this mechanism; they want it to happen now. There are also dangers and implications in attempting to ringfence the money. It may be decided by a future Government that this will be the only money for such programmes so that only on the whim of the courts will funds for drugs awareness projects be diverted to those communities. Again, I do not think that is the intention behind the amendment.
My reason for not accepting these amendments is not that I do not like Senator Dardis, Senator Henry or Senator Norris or that I do not agree that more resources should be diverted to these areas. The funds should not necessarily come from my Department because for too long it has been the whipping boy for everything which is wrong in society. Far more effort should be made by other Departments and currently the Department of Education and the Department of Health are working in conjunction with the communities. Senator Dardis knows better than I that some things which have to be done in inner city communities — unfortunately, a number of people involved in crime come from there — add to the feeling of alienation. Those communities do not want drug treatment centres, post-prison centres, etc., even though a high percentage of people from the area will have to use them. It is a fraught and difficult argument and it is not so straightforward that one can simply throw money at the problem, although no one has said that.
It is for the Senators to decide this but it would not send a good signal to divide the House as it might appear that the spirit of the amendment did not commend itself to me. I undertook yesterday to communicate the spirit of this amendment to the Government during the Estimates process, so several Departments will take definite steps to put money into the communities where most of these serious problems now pertain. As Senator Norris said, most of the money made by these big criminals has been made on the backs of the poor and  marginalised who have not had education and jobs opportunities. It should also be said that much of it has been made through manipulation, robbing and thieving in better off areas. Many people from those areas have also suffered through losing their property and possessions, and businesses have been subject to fraud.
I also said yesterday that I had spoken about this matter to the Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, who chairs the committee set up by the Government on measures to reduce demand for drugs. He said on Committee Stage that he would immediately look at the concept and intent of these amendments. I have no doubt that when his report is submitted to the Government — which will be by the end of September — it will recommend measures such as those suggested by the Senators. That means the money these communities need will be injected now rather than in seven years' time. Millions of pounds are already being put into communities through local development initiatives and many other methods but some of it is not targeted and focused to provide things which we would take for granted. If my child wants to swim or play football or hurling he can go to the nearest pool or park by bus or bicycle and there is usually a club to run the facility. Many communities do not have that ease of access.
I ask Senators to take a measure of my bona fides from the fact that I have always been agreeable to accepting amendments from this House where possible. I understand the intent and import of these amendments but they would not do anything to relieve the need for more money in these communities. There will be nothing to distribute for another seven years. I appeal to the Senators to consider what I have said.
Mr. Dardis: I assure the Minister I do not intend to make this matter divisive but the best way to make it non-divisive would be to accept the amendment. There are two sides to that coin. I did not ask the Minister not to mention  these matters; I asked her not to use them as an excuse for not accepting the amendment. The use of the words “may be” as opposed to “shall” gives discretion; I accept it does not impose an imperative on the Minister. Nevertheless, by having it in the legislation it would be difficult to avoid that responsibility.
In relation to the fact that it would take seven years before these moneys would begin to accrue to the State, there is no suggestion in the amendment, or in the argument for it, that the moneys which are at present devoted to these schemes and other areas of relief should not continue. It is suggested this money be dedicated to this particular function. It was significant that the Dublin citywide drugs crisis campaign made the same point yesterday. They are at the sharp end of this problem and experience it daily. They recommend the problem be dealt with by a co-ordinated approach including rehabilitation and treatment.
We must address the conditions which create the drugs problem. We have already discussed the demand aspect on Second Stage and what needs to be done to address this as well as the supply side. This is the area where most can be done to address the demand side of the equation. The Minister of State, Deputy Rabbitte, spoke about the compelling logic of having a provision like this when this matter was before the Select Committee on Legislation and Security but somehow that logic became less compelling when the matter progressed further.
It is important we listen to the communities. They are totally unimpressed by arguments about administrative difficulties. How can they begin to understand them? We have created a dinosaur which on every occasion is being used as an excuse for non-responsiveness. Legislation comes before us where it is the “opinion of the Attorney General” that something cannot be done. My experience with lawyers is that for every one opinion in one direction,  there are two opinions in the alternative direction. They will argue about the number of angels on the head of a pin.
We are discussing a broader issue. We have created a dinosaur which is totally unresponsive or, if it is responsive, it is over such a time scale that it is not relevant. What are we doing if we are not listening to the people who are giving these messages loudly, clearly and explicitly? They are asking us to do things which they regard as reasonable and legitimate.
I have no argument with the Minister about intent. We all have the same intent. The issue is the expression of the intent and how it is expressed within the legislation and within the support we give to communities. I know the Cathaoirleach wishes to conclude this matter speedily. I could say more about it but in deference to the House and the fact we are discussing other legislation this afternoon, I rest my case.
Mr. Norris: I welcome what the Minister has said in terms of taking the sentiments expressed, however clumsily, in our amendment back to Government. I hope she will do so urgently and that she will press this with all the vigour of expression and style which she has demonstrated in this House. I hope she will use those qualities in Cabinet to urge this measure.
I was unaware that a similar amendment was tabled in the Dáil yesterday or that my colleague Senator Dardis was to table one today. I arrived at this view independently. I am sorry I did not know it was being discussed yesterday because I would have had the opportunity to listen to the debate and inform myself more as a result of that discussion, but I am glad it was raised. The Minister said she supported a similar amendment to the 1994 Act and that the Minister of State, Deputy Rabbitte, has spoken about giving a commitment from his Department to try to meet the spirit of the Bill.
As regards the substitution of “may be” for “shall”, it may appear that we were weak and pusillanimous. Unfortunately, that is because of the nature of Seanad Éireann. My advice, which was well given, was that we would have been limited by the provisions under which the Seanad is forbidden to spend money. If we had expressly said “shall”, the Cathoairleach might have been obliged to rule my amendment out of order. I then discovered Senator Dardis had tabled an amendment. When we reviewed the amendments with the able assistance of the staff of the House, it was pointed out that Senator Dardis had discovered a formulation of words which appeared to get over that difficulty.
It was not from a lack of passionate commitment or from a source of pusillanimity, whatever that is, that I changed my amendment to the weaker version but to ensure that it would be discussed. If the House had the power to spend money, we would be at it hammer and tongs day and night. However, in their wisdom, the framers of the Constitution prevented us from so doing.
Money must go to these areas for practical reasons. There is a substantial lack of proper methadone maintenance programmes throughout the city. Hundreds of people commit crimes daily because they have no alternative to feed their habit. Some money should be immediately diverted to these methadone maintenance programmes. People are not only stealing but are committing suicide because they cannot get to these programmes. The Cabinet has the capacity to put money aside for these programmes immediately.
I was delighted the Minister mentioned ICON. I have worked with that splendid group. It also works with a  section of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce of which the Minister is aware. The Dublin 2010 committee is looking at the question of crime. I am a very junior member of that committee and the Minister's interest is welcome. We have been looking at the areas for which this money would be useful.
For example, there was a programme for children in deprived areas who had an interest in horses to develop this interest responsibly so that the horse's welfare is looked after as well. They were given a positive understanding of animals and a healthy recreational interest in life. There was a type of stock-car racing programme and those who liked joyriding were given an opportunity to drive the blazes out of old bangers under safe and controlled circumstances. This was successfully done in Belfast but it was stopped in Dublin because of the money required for insurance — the critical factor was money. That would have alleviated a problem in the city.
I have two final points. First, I am aware there is a seven year delay but I do not understand why. There must be some gifted accountants who have a positive view on life. I know there are many gifted accountants, but let us try to find an optimistic accountant who is also creative. Let him look at this and say, “We have so much money frozen, why not establish a system of parallel funding?” When the Minister has £10 million in her deep freeze, the sell by date for which is the year 2010, why not have a parallel credit facility against which she can draw such as those available from banks, and provide that for the inner city? Even I, a financial illiterate, have managed to pull that one.
Mr. Norris: We might avoid that because we might find ourselves slipping into constitutional areas and the history of previous Fianna Fáil Administrations  in which a significant role was played by the distinguished Senator.
Finally, the Minister referred to taxpayers' money; this is the first time this afternoon that I have found her to be inaccurate. This is not taxpayers' money. This is money on which no tax has been paid.
Mr. Norris: It is highly unlikely. A very large portion of it will not have been liable to tax because it would have been generated by people importing substances on which it is unlikely the Revenue has exacted a commission. In circumstances where these substances are distributed to the marketplace, it is equally unlikely that any tax has been generated to the Exchequer. Certainly in terms of drugs money, I would be surprised if any tax revenue was paid, so it is not taxpayers' money.
Mr. Norris: Taxpayers' did not generate this income so it is unusual, distinctive and atypical in this sense and this is a good argument for the Minister to use at Government. She can say that this is not taxpayers' money. We accept that there is a cogent argument for money which is paid by the taxpayer in general circumstances to go into the general pool, but that argument is not sustainable when one is dealing with significant amounts of money on which no tax has ever been paid by the citizens of this State. That is an extra argument for saying let us get this money in some shape or form.
I do not feel that this must be the Norris, Henry or Dardis amendment, and I am sure Senator Dardis feels the same. I accept the Minister's goodwill. If she is as committed as she says, she should use the force of these arguments to return to Cabinet and say that we will  have this money even if it is after seven years. Presumably, the money will be banked and will generate interest. I certainly hope that is the case. As a taxpayer, I would be very angry if the Minister is not being as prudent as me.
Mr. Norris: Let us not diverge from this — the taxpayers, of course, that is why I am beholden to them. I will not press the amendment but if Senator Dardis presses it, I must vote for it. I strongly urge the Minister to return to Cabinet, to make some of the arguments which we have made a little clumsily here, add to them with her vigour and special style and try to ensure moneys are released for the kind of programmes about which we have all spoken.
Dr. Henry: The Minister knows there is no panacea by which one can ensure children do not become involved in drugs, but something she said influenced me a great deal in supporting Senator Norris's attitude to the amendment. She said that if her children wanted to go to a swimming pool, play football, hockey, camogie, etc., they could get on a bus or on their bicycle and do so. This is exactly what has been important for my children and it is what the Minister and I would like to see available to other children, especially in deprived areas.
 I ask the Minister to tell the Cabinet how we wish to see this money spent. There is no harm in various areas taking out bank loans in the hope of what is to come. We should ask people what they want. I was interested to see in these reports how much money is available. Ms Felloni, for example, had £50,000 in the bank at 20 years of age. I wish I had a 20 year old child with £50,000 in the bank — not acquired by those methods of course. It is important to talk to communities to find out what will help in their areas. For too long we have not consulted with people in problem areas. We trust the Minister to express our wishes in this regard.
Mr. Mulcahy: I agree with many of the Minister's comments about the second amendment. We support the first amendment but if the Minister is not prepared to accept it today, then we will not vote for it because this legislation needs to be enacted quickly. As we speak, there may be people against whom we are pitching our resources who want to quickly dispose of their assets. Every day this Bill is not in force is another day of comfort and assistance to those people. This Bill should be passed today so, for that reason, the Fianna Fáil Party will not support any of the amendments.
Mr. Mulcahy: I thank the Minister for coming before the House and spending a considerable amount of time debating the Bill. I do not say this lightly because there are other Ministers who do not grace us with their presence. It is a compliment to the House when a Minister takes the time and trouble to divert from their busy and important schedules to give us the benefit of their knowledge, wisdom, experience and expertise. I sincerely thank the Minister, her co-operation is deeply appreciated. I also thank Members for their contributions. The debate was constructive and everyone who spoke was well meaning and well intentioned.
Veronica Guerin was murdered on 26 June 1996, one calendar month ago. We have done a good day's work in her name and that of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe. We have had a very mature debate and done our bit. I hope that other elements of society will combine with our leadership to try to rid Ireland of this scourge.
Mr. Norris: I thank the Minister for her able handling of the Bill. The Leas-Chathaoirleach stated formally that the Bill will be reported without amendment. It might appear that the Seanad, as an amending body, has failed in its duty by not amending the Bill but I do not believe we have because we have argued matters with the Minister. It was not possible to amend the Bill in some areas for a variety of reasons. On the other hand, the Minister has given a firm, clear and solemn undertaking that our concerns will be represented, fully and vigorously, at Cabinet. Members can rely on the Minister because we know her to be able, vigorous and trustworthy in the deepest political sense. In that light, I believe that, despite the fact that the Bill will be reported without amendment, we have not significantly failed. We have strengthened the context within which this Bill will come into law. I accept Senator Mulcahy's point that it is important that the Bill is rapidly implemented. As to the parentage of the Bill, I prefer to leave that matter  in dispute. Technically, however, I would have imagined in my innocence that the Bill was proposed from the Government benches with the able support of Fianna Fáil.
Mr. Dardis: I thank the Minister and her officials. I am impressed by the fact that she remained in the House for the entire debate. I hope the legislation will be effective and will help reduce the scourge of drugs on our society and the people who push them. This measure has been taken with the agreement of all parties. The Minister made a point about intent; we all have the same intent. I hope this will be brought into practice and that the Bill will achieve what it sets out to do.
Ms Gallagher: I thank everyone involved, Government and Opposition, in bringing forward this legislation. I hope it will bear fruit in the near future. I also hope to see it applied to the proceeds of IRA activity. In the Border region, we are used to seeing many people using a system of businesses to launder money. I welcome the fact that the Bill is all embracing in terms of its application. I congratulate the Minister for her work on this Bill.
Mr. Neville: I welcome the passage of the Bill and I thank the Minister. I, too, share the hope that the provisions will be effective and will be another weapon for the State in tackling this serious problem. I thank the Minister, Deputy John O'Donoghue and Senator Mulcahy for the work done on the Bill.
Minister for Justice (Mrs. Owen): I acknowledge the Senators' words of thanks. I congratulate Senator Mulcahy on the able way he brought this Bill through the House and made the necessary points. Alongside the significance of the passing of the Bill, there will be an examination of the debate on its passing. If we do not do so, we will lose some of the wisdom expressed and what was people's intent for this Bill. I can  assure Senators that their words will be passed on to the Cabinet and to the ministerial committee where they can be examined in-depth with regard to the amendments put down today. I thank the Senators for their courtesy.
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