Cullen, Martin

Thursday, 6 March 2003

Seanad Eireann Debate
Vol. 171 No. 16

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Local Government Bill 2003: Committee Stage.

I thank the Senators for their contributions. Senator Kitt put it succinctly when he said that Members were either for the dual mandate or they were not. That is the issue. I respect Senator Tuffy's v...More Button

I still do that to this day and I have not served on a local authority for many years.More Button

I would be a fool if I was not aware of the detail of what was happening in my area.More Button

Not all councillors want to be elected to the Dáil.More Button

It is a reinvigoration of public life, a renewal process for all the parties, not exclusive to Fianna Fáil.More Button

How does it?More Button

I agree.More Button

That is new. More Button

I did not say that.More Button

I did not suggest that.More Button

It was not. I was there.More Button

The party got rid of Alan Dukes for doing it.More Button

I have listened to the debate with great interest. I agree with Senator Bannon that one can change one's mind on policy. I have no difficulty with that. That is the evolution in which we, in politics,...More Button

Let us be clear. I have heard it said all morning. It is an extraordinary approach for Senators to take. It comes back to the point I have been making and which runs through this Bill. I have stated m...More Button

I am not. I am quoting what was said.More Button

I am being accurate.More Button

I was elected to Dáil Éireann at 32 years of age. Since then I have listened to debate after debate, political party after political party, talk about reform. There have been complaints – many of them...More Button

One has to look at the logic of what we are saying. I am trying to separate – I am quite open about this – the role of local government and national Government. It is clear from the debate that, psych...More Button

The word “reform” is probably the most abused word over a range of issues. Everybody likes to talk about reform.More Button

It is a great corner to go to when one has nothing else to say. I never suggested when I brought it forward six or seven months ago, when I discussed it in public and with colleagues, that this was th...More Button

Members must understand their roles and how to develop them. I agree with much that Senator White said. It is not undemocratic but unhealthy that there are not enough women in public life.More Button

Political correctness does not frame my view but legitimacy, and the diversity that can bring to public life. I have spent time talking to women's groups and realise it is a difficult issue. Women nee...More Button

We are arguing opposite points of view. I take the view that the dual mandate should end. That would be good for public life, local government, the Seanad and Dáil Éireann. It would be good for the en...More Button

I remind Senator Tuffy that I quoted Article 18.2 of the Constitution which says that “a person to be eligible for membership of Seanad Éireann must be eligible to become a member of Dáil Éireann”. I ...More Button

I never said that.More Button

We have discussed these issues at length, but at the heart of the point being made is the question of whether or not we are making the break between local and national government. If we are, this Bill...More Button

It would be unfair of me to quote what they said, but I can say that they did not convey to me that there had been a major policy shift with regard to the dual mandate.More Button

If the Senators were serious about reform, they would support the provisions I seek to introduce. In this case, they wish to know the result of the race before they allow their horse to run. This is a...More Button

Some very junior grades are allowed.More Button

I have listened with great interest to the debate on this aspect and intend to introduce an appropriate amendment on Report Stage to address the concerns raised. It will insert a new expanded section ...More Button

I will take everything into consideration. There is much validity in what has been said, both in this House and elsewhere. There will be a full debate on my proposals on Report Stage.More Button

On Report State I will propose the insertion of a new section. Issues may arise regarding the statutory regulations but the key provision will be a repeal of section 3. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn....More Button

I understand the logic behind the amendment which would insert a new subsection (5) in section 3 of the Bill, as published. It seeks to have local authority annual reports laid before both Houses. I h...More Button

I was not aware of this but the Local Government Act 2001 does set time limits for the production of annual reports to be approved by elected members. The time frame is about four months. Therefore, t...More Button

I am saying by 1 April, which is three months. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Section 3 agreed to. Sections 4 and 5 agreed to. SECTION 6. Question proposed: “That section 6 stand part of the Bill.”More Button

This is just to bring clarity. The person must choose. By doing it this way we bring certainty into which authority the person chooses. Question put and agreed to. SECTION 7.More Button

The Senator is discussing amendment No. 14. We are discussing amendment No. 11 tabled by both Fine Gael and the Labour Party. The Labour Party opposes the repeal in section 7 of the Bill of the provis...More Button

That is accepted by the Senator's colleagues.More Button

The Senator's colleagues accept there is a different point of view.More Button

The elimination of the dual mandate as proposed will in itself bring about significant change to the local government system and allow for an influx of fresh blood, with the opportunity for councillor...More Button

We might include Waterford too.More Button

Of all the things I have done in this Bill, this is the one on which I can solemnly say there is political consensus. Every politician wanted this removed. We can have political arguments and make pol...More Button

This has already been dealt with in the 2001 Act. People now have the right to get a postal vote if working outside their area as returning officers etc., on polling day. It has been dealt with but pe...More Button

If outside their area, those working as returning officers etc., are entitled to a postal vote. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

There might be a misunderstanding but the effect of the amendment would be to make sure no election other than a local election could take place.More Button

I accept from what the Senator has said that the amendment would have that effect. We are trying to encourage the electorate to vote on polling day. There is no conflict between a European and local e...More Button

I will not go down that road. I cannot accept the amendment, though I understand the Senator's point which was fairly made. As Senator Moylan said, a situation might arise where a new council was elec...More Button

Does the Senator want to bring them back?More Button

I have listened to the comments of Senators Bannon and Tuffy. I presume the amendment has been tabled as a means of raising the issue, as it will not deliver anything if it is accepted. It is a wish l...More Button

They decided that an Upper House was unnecessary. Perhaps Senators should be careful when referring selectively to Denmark, as it now has a unicameral system. I agree with the Senator about Denmark's ...More Button

We have some of the lowest tax rates in the world.More Button

It is largely being carried by Fianna Fáil councillors throughout the country.More Button

Some did.More Button

I have listened carefully to the Senator. I do not intend to engage in a long discussion. I have been kind and reasonable in saying that I understand that the purpose of the amendment is to generate d...More Button

I understand what the Senator wishes to do. The issue pertains to the Electoral Act 1997. My views are well known on the issue in its widest sense and I intend to deal with the Act soon when I will re...More Button

I am repealing the entire Act because of its consequences. All sides of the Houses accept that the last election was a nightmare.More Button

In case I have been misunderstood or misquoted, the important issue is transparency. I did not say there should not be any limit but that it is very much a secondary issue and it should be at a realis...More Button

This was introduced in the Local Government Bill 2000 as a direct response to all the local authority associations who wanted it. It is included for a very good reason. Town councils are the smallest ...More Button

It needs to be made clear that section 217 and Part 21 of the principal Act continue the existing law which has been in place since 1941. These provisions enable the Minister to remove members from of...More Button

It would not be much of a deterrent. It would hardly be worth the effort and expense. The current system is fair, and people behave accordingly within the context of the system. Many Senators made the...More Button

There is an example of where that did not happen. The Dáil was reconstituted and formed another Government without going back to the people. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that.More Button

That is part of the reform question in the next Bill.More Button

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