Thursday, 29 April 2010
Seanad Eireann Debate
An Cathaoirleach: I remind Senators that on Report Stage a Senator may speak only once, with the exception of the proposer of an amendment who may reply to the discussion on the amendment. In addition, each amendment must be seconded.
Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Conor Lenihan): This amendment is required as a consequence of the amendment I accepted on Committee Stage which removed the provision excluding members of local authorities from sitting on the board of Inland Fisheries Ireland. Section 40(4), as drafted, also precluded members of a local authority from membership of the board of IFI. Accordingly, it is necessary to amend this provision in order that it is consistent with the amendment agreed on Committee Stage.
Senator Liam Twomey: I support the amendment and thank the Minister of State for accepting yesterday our amendment removing the ban on local authority members from being members of the board of IFI. That was a discriminatory practice that was unnecessary and added nothing to the legislation. I am delighted the Minister of State accepted our amendment and has introduced this amendment as a consequence.
Senator Jim Walsh: I endorse those sentiments. I welcome the amendment and thank the Minister of State for being so amenable. I also welcome his comments yesterday that he regarded the practice as discriminatory in this Bill. I hope other Ministers will follow his example and leadership.
Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Conor Lenihan): I thank Members for their co-operation. This is an important Bill and an essential measure in delivering new management structures for the inland fisheries resource. We are entering a new era and a period in which this resource will become valuable to the country in the development and encouragment of fisheries and angling tourism. These are key themes that I have asked the new CEO-designate to take up. In this regard, I am pleased to advise the House that I am appointing a board on an interim basis before the Oireachtas fills the final few positions on the board of Inland Fisheries Ireland. I am appointing Mr. Brendan O’Mahony as chairman designate and Mr. Andrew Duncan and Ms Lily Collison as interim members of the board. The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government has already nominated Mr. Lal Flaherty, while the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs has nominated Dr. Frances E. Lucey. I considered it only fair that I would make the public announcement of an interim board in the Seanad because of the level of co-operation and assistance I have received in the House.
Senator Jim Walsh: The Bill is a fine example of what we could be doing across all Departments. There has been much justified criticism of the increase in the number of State bodies, or quangos as they are often referred to. There are great efficiencies and cost savings to be achieved in tidying up the entire area.
I compliment the Minister of State who has done a good job. Inland Fisheries Ireland has a very important function and can play a very positive role in tourism. Part of the strategy to restore economic growth should be placing emphasis on indigenous industries such as tourism. I welcome the comments of the Minister of State in this regard and hope the leadership he has shown will be replicated by others. The House has again shown the contribution it makes to legislation. We need Ministers with an open mind such as the Minister of State to be prepared to take on board sensible suggestions, even where this might cause inconvenience, as the Minister of State himself acknowledged yesterday. He will now need to bring the Bill back to the Dáil for ratification. I thank him in that regard.
Senator Liam Twomey: I wish to be associated with the sentiments expressed. I thank the Minister of State for being so concise and forthright in his answers to the House. I wish the board of IFI the very best for the future.
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