Dáil Éireann - Volume 433 - 08 July, 1993

European Communities (Amendment) Bill, 1993: Committee and Final Stages.

Section 1 agreed to.

SECTION 2.

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Ms. E. Fitzgerald): I move amendment No. 1:

In page 2, lines 19 to 30, to delete [1753] subsection (1) and substitute the following:

“(1) Subsection (1) of section 1 of the Act of 1972 is hereby amended by—

(a) the substitution in paragraph (1) of ‘13th’ for ‘12th’, and

(b) the insertion, in the definition of ‘the treaties governing the European Communities’ after paragraph (p) (inserted by the European Communities (Amendment) Act, 1992) of the following:

‘and

(q) the Act amending the Protocol on the Statute of the European Investment Bank, empowering the Board of Governors to establish a European Investment Fund, signed at Brussels on the 25th day of March, 1993, together with the Treaty amending certain provisions of the Protocol on the Statute of the European Investment Bank, signed at Brussels on the 10th day of July, 1975.’.”.

This amendment is a technical amendment relating to the date on which Greenland left the European Community.

Amendment agreed to.

Question proposed: “That section 2, as amended, stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Lenihan: This section gives effect to a decision taken at the Edinburgh Summit amending the Treaties involving the European Investment Bank, to enable the establishment of a new European investment fund designed to deal with unemployment and encourage the growth initiative discussed in Edinburgh and expanded at the recent Copenhagen Summit. We welcome this new fund primarily designed to facilitate the private sector in undertaking infrastructural and other major products. The fund is to act as a valuable interface in raising the level of investment when taken in conjunction with the Structural and Cohesion Funds also envisaged at the Edinburgh Summit.

[1754] I will refer to a matter that was given some airing here a few moments ago by Deputy Bruton and that is the question of leaks emanating from the European Commission which are being used by the British media to undermine the Commission, the President of the Commission and Community policies generally. It is no secret that the British approach over the years has been guided by an attitude which puts British national interest above European Community interests. The British consistently denigrate and undermine the Commission and its President, but it is part of our national policy to support the Commission and its President as the guardians of the rights of the Community and particularly of the smaller countries in the Community. The Commission, through President Delors, has been consistently helpful to us in our very valid requirement of fund transfers from the centre to the periphery in order to maintain equality of growth throughout the Community. That is the whole purpose of the Structural and Cohesion Funds.

I was in Brussels at the various Council meetings in 1988 when we negotiated the first tranche of Structural Funds for Ireland, amounting to £4 billion, and I know the kind of opposition that came from the UK Government at that time. Through official British Government action, through their contacts in Brussels and through their utilisation of the media, the London based media particularly, the British seek to undermine the Commission. The Irish Times today reports President Delors speaking at yesterday's Commission meeting saying that he took grave exception to a Financial Times report which cast doubt on whether or not there were funds to meet the £7.5 billion offered to Ireland. Mr. Delors told Commissioners that this leaking from Commission officials would have to stop.

The report, which was compiled by Mr. Sean Flynn in Brussels, goes on to state that at the end of the meeting Mr. Delors was given the go-ahead by his fellow Commissioners to resolve the Structural Funds dispute with the Government and [1755] the necessary flexibility that he needed to resolve it. That is as it should be. It is the duty and responsibility of the Commission under the treaties we are discussing to take the initiative in this area and, following debate at Council of Ministers and summit level, to make recommendations to resolve issues.

Since the Edinburgh Summit we have been involved in the negotiations process at various levels with the European Community. It is time that all Deputies and the media faced reality; if one does not pitch one's demands at the required level one will not secure anything near it. It was the duty of the Taoiseach, as the leader of the Irish delegation at the Edinburgh Summit, to set the figure at £8 billion.

Mr. E. Kenny: He should have sought £10 billion.

Mr. Lenihan: That is the procedure adopted in the negotiations process. It is ridiculous for Opposition Deputies to suggest that there is anything wrong or unseemly about this; there is a need for strong and hard political negotiations in Brussels.

During the Maastricht Treaty referendum campaign the figure advanced was £6 billion. The Progressive Democrats suggested that it was doubtful if that was a realistic figure and mentioned that a figure of between £4 billion to £5 billion would be more realistic. In any event, the figure of £6 billion was discounted by the Government's critics at that time.

Because he adopted a courageous stance at the Edinburgh Summit, the Taoiseach managed to have this figure raised to £8 billion. That is the right way to do business within the European Community and it is time the media understood this. I am surprised also that some Opposition Deputies do not understand this. When a conclusion is reached we can have a full debate in the House and in the media to decide whether the Government adopted the right approach and the figure agreed was the right one but it would be unwise to [1756] engage in speculation while the negotiations are taking place.

Mr. E. Kenny: The Deputy would have handled this matter much better.

Mr. Lenihan: According to reports in the newspapers this morning President Delors is now firmly in charge.

The following headline appeared in the Irish Independent: “£8 Billion Deadlock: Dust-up over EC Gibe at Reynolds”. That scare headline was derived directly from London media sources which, in turn, took it from British interests within the Commission and Community institutions in Brussels. However, these should be discounted by a major national newspaper in this country and not adopted by Opposition spokespersons to denigrate Ireland's case at a time when the negotiations have reached a sensitive stage. It is important that we secure the maximum amount in Structural and Cohesion Funds.

We are also aware of the difficulties facing Europe given that it is proposed to enlarge the Community to include central and eastern European countries and the commitments this will entail in terms of European Community funding in the future. As this is our last opportunity to secure a substantial sum, it is important that we secure the maximum amount possible. Now that President Delors is in command he will proceed to negotiate with the Taoiseach, the Government and with our European Community partners to finalise the matter. At that stage we can have a full debate on whether the figure agreed is the right one. We must remember that the figure which was set at £6 billion prior to the Maastricht Treaty referendum campaign has now been increased to £8 billion. This would be of enormous benefit to the country.

Taken together, grant and loan funding by way of the European Investment Fund represent the European Community's contribution to the development required here during the next five to seven years to resolve our serious infrastructural and unemployment problems. These can be addressed if we secure [1757] the maximum amount in Structural and Cohesion Funds and utilise them to maximum effect. We also need to make full use of the European Investment Fund as a loan facility. Hitherto this was not available but is now being made available to this and other European Community countries to increase employment as envisaged at the Edinburgh Summit.

Mr. Hogan: I am delighted Deputy Lenihan referred to the controversy surrounding the amount of EC Structural Funds that is being negotiated at present. I am disappointed, however, that he sought to misinterpret the position concerning Mr. Reynolds's bona fides in trying to secure the sum of £8 billion——

An Ceann Comhairle: The Taoiseach.

Mr. Hogan: The Taoiseach has tried to misrepresent the position in regard to the stance he took last December. Deputy Lenihan is a past master when it comes to negotiating skills and coming home with agreements. I recall, when I was a young politician, the great controversy that surrounded the proposed 50 mile fishing limit. Deputy Lenihan, who was then Minister for Fisheries, proposed that we should seek such a limit under the European Community treaties. It would seem that he was quite generous from an Irish point of view as the limit was subsequently set at 12 miles; yet this was considered to be a great achievement at the time.

I also recall that a promise was given during a Galway East by-election campaign following the death of former Deputy Callanan, that headage payments would be increased four fold but subsequently the Government failed to deliver on this promise. The same applies in respect of the promise to provide shrubbery in Dublin West——

An Ceann Comhairle: We seem to be straying into deep water.

Mr. M. McDowell: We are 50 miles from the shore.

[1758] An Ceann Comhairle: I would like the Deputy to come back to the section.

Mr. Hogan: Last night, a Cheann Comhairle, you ruled me out of order when I mentioned the Structural Funds. Deputy Lenihan spoke for about 15 minutes on that issue. I ask for your indulgence so that I can point out——

An Ceann Comhairle: I am prepared to allow some latitude but I must dissuade Members from making Second Stage speeches on Committee Stage.

Mr. Hogan: The point I am making is that Deputy Lenihan's efforts to support the Taoiseach in his endeavours to secure this £8 billion for Ireland are far from satisfactory in view of his past record and experience in these matters. He has also sought to misrepresent the amount of money we are likely to receive. A sum of £6 billion over five years is completely different from a sum of £8 billion over seven years. It is fair to say that this is a typical Fianna Fáil tactic.

It is disingenuous of Deputy Lenihan to blame London newspaper and media sources for the embarrassing position in which the Taoiseach finds himself. When the Taoiseach came home from the Edinburgh Summit the money was supposed to be in the bank. Securing this money was regarded as his greatest achievement as Taoiseach. He needed some good news to help him form a Government with the Labour Party and save his own political skin as Leader of Fianna Fáil. Unfortunately we now know that nothing was agreed on the amount of the funding. Every Member of this House hopes that the Government will be successful in retaining the 13.5 per cent share of Structural Funds Ireland received in the 1989-93 tranche.

Negotiating for resources on the basis that they were agreed seven months ago seems to be completely different from the negotiation process referred to by Deputy Lenihan. The Taoiseach came home from the Edinburgh Summit in December 1992 claiming agreement on the level of funding Ireland would [1759] receive. However, Ireland is now holding to ransom the workings of the European Community in respect of EC Structural and Cohesion Funding because we got it so wrong at the Edinburgh Summit. No country promoted the need for increased Community financing or outlined the difficulties of peripherality and the problems of unemployment better than Spain. We were rightly happy to hold on to the coat tails of the Spanish in those negotiations and seek an increase in funding for Ireland.

I wish to avail of this opportunity to ask the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, who has direct responsibility for the National Development Plan, to indicate clearly the present state of play of the negotiations, the likely outcome and whether the wishes and aspirations for the National Development Plan which she has enunciated so eloquently both inside and outside this House will be achieved. What reductions in expenditure in the various Government Departments will be implemented if we do not get the full amount we originally anticipated?

There is no point in reaching a successful conclusion to the negotiations if there is no change in national policy. We can continue, as we have done so often in the past, to throw money at problems but we will not solve any of these problems if we do not create lasting and permanent employment by investing in projects which will create this type of employment. This is probably the last great opportunity Ireland will have to create permanent employment. We should not let this opportunity pass without mentioning this fact. I hope the Minister of State will avail of this opportunity to clarify the position on these matters.

Proinsias De Rossa: This section provides for the ratification by the State of an agreement amending the Protocol to the EC Treaty on the statute of the European Investment Bank and will enable the governors of the bank to establish a European Investment Fund which will be added to the list of Treaties governing the European Community. That is a useful [1760] development. I am not convinced that the size of the fund being talked about will have any significant effect on the economy of the European Community generally or on the Irish economy specifically. It strikes me as being somewhat similar to the principle which Bill Clinton knocked so effectively in his election campaign, the principle of trickle down economics where if one creates a fund for investment and development the effects of the investment and development will trickle down to those who need it. We know from our sad experience that that does not work. We receive Structural Funds from the European Community to make up for the fact that there is a fundamental contradiction in the objectives of the European Community in terms of letting the market rip and at the same time hoping that that will improve the lot of the 50 million people of the European Community who are living below the poverty line and the 17 million people who are unemployed. We know this system does not work. It is time Ireland started to point out within the councils of the European Community that this approach to the European economy is a disaster for the people of the Community.

The main problem with Structural Funds is that they are the result of horse trading. We see the problems which can arise from that kind of approach to the development of the European Community when we look at the promises the Taoiseach thought he had wrapped up and in the bag but which were not really there at all. Deputy Hogan referred to the £6 billion over five years we were promised in the Maastricht Treaty debate and the alleged £8 billion over seven years which the Taoiseach claimed he got in Edinburgh. This means, in effect, that the £6 billion promise of Maastricht was not kept either. Therefore we have two broken promises.

I have serious reservations about the way in which the European Community goes about assisting the peripheral regions of the Community which are marginalised. I do not think it is appropriate for a Community which is seeking to [1761] develop a union and to become a major player on the world stage to allow for development purely on the basis of horse dealing at various summits as the time arises. Depending on how powerful you are or how well got you are with the President of the Commission or the paymasters of the European Community, the Germans etc., you will either get a good deal or you will not. That is not the way to develop the European Community. It is not the way to bring Spain, Ireland, the southern part of Italy or the länder in East Germany up to par with the rest of the Community. We have to establish a more federal type of approach to the allocation and distribution of resources within the European Community whereby transfers of resources would be automatic on the basis of the needs of the various regions and would be based on established criteria.

Mr. Lenihan: That is the way it should be.

Proinsias De Rossa: Yes, and it is time we as a country started to argue for such an approach. Unfortunately, the system we have been happy to operate and which worked well for us — presumably that is the reason we did not want to move away from it — is beginning to become unstuck. It seems that the Taoiseach now finds himself in a hole. When that happens, the advice of old is to stop digging and that is something he should bear in mind. I do not think he can argue logically that a firm promise was made to him, in Edinburgh when it was not minuted.

I have no wish to interfere in the negotiations in which the Tánaiste and he are engaged. Obviously I want to see the greatest possible transfer of resources to this country, as does everybody else, but this is a signal that we cannot continue to expect a transfer of resources simply on the basis that we are good Europeans or that we have the ear of the powerful in the European Community. We have to argue for change in the way resources are allocated, as well as arguing for a commitment to a much larger budget for [1762] Europe. Otherwise the European union project will become unstuck very quickly.

Question put and agreed to.

SECTION 3.

Ms. E. Fitzgerald: I move amendment No. 2:

In page 4, lines 10 and 11, to delete “to be set up” and substitute “established”.

This is a slight technical change in the wording.

Amendment agreed to.

Section 3, as amended, agreed to.

Section 4 agreed to.

SECTION 5.

Ms. E. Fitzgerald: I move amendment No. 3:

In page 5, subsection (5), to delete “repeal” and substitute “revocation”.

This is a technical amendment to make a slight change in the wording.

Amendment agreed to.

Section 5, as amended, agreed to.

SECTION 6.

An Ceann Comhairle: Amendment No. 4 is in the name of Deputy Hogan. I observe that amendment No. 5 is related and suggest, therefore, that we debate amendments Nos. 4 and 5 together. Is that agreed? Agreed.

Mr. Hogan: I move amendment No. 4:

In page 5, between lines 16 and 17, to insert the following subsection:

[1763] “(3) All European Communities directives and regulations shall be referred to the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs for approval before implementation.”.

I am proposing to insert two new subsections in section 6. I have been concerned for a considerable time at the inadequacy of the scrutiny of the vast majority of EC directives. I submit that the Meagher case on angel dust, successfully brought against the State in respect of European directives clearly shows that the Legislature has given inadequate thought to how the directives should be implemented in practice. Although Ministers agree to the draft directives before they are passed, the Members of the Oireachtas do not get the opportunity to discuss them in the forum to which the Ministers are responsible in order to clarify the reasons Ministers agree to directives that subsequently are transposed into Irish law by ministerial order. We have been brought before the European Court on a number of occasions because we have been unable to transpose directives into law. Directives that date as far back as June 1991 have to be brought before the House and transposed into Irish law.

Members who have an interest in a specific matter should have the opportunity to tease out the practical implications of the implementation of the various EC Directives. This has been brought home forcibly to me as a result of the heat generated by the proposal to implement the EC food hygiene regulations. Some people are claiming that if the regulations are enforced to the strict letter they will be put out of business. There is a general lack of understanding among the general public and Members have not been given adequate information to answer questions and criticisms on the implementation of this EC Directive. It does not do justice to the Houses of the Oireachtas that Members are not able to deal adequately with the queries that their constitutents raise on directives [1764] agreed at Government level but which we have failed to discuss in the Oireachtas.

I take the point Deputy Michael McDowell made on Second Stage that the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs may not be the proper forum to discuss this matter. I understand his reservations because we have a great deal of work to do on that committee. Technical measures such as EC Directives should not take up the time of all Members of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs. I do not anticipate that happening but I believe that some Members on the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs should at least have an opportunity to peruse the various directives that have been agreed by the Irish Government at EC level. I propose that we have experts explain the directives to us and then we can tease out the implications of the directives. Deputy McDowell said there would be insufficient expertise available to the committee and the committee itself would not have the expertise to deal with those technical measures.

I was a Member of the Statutory Instruments sub-committee of the former Joint Committee on Secondary Legislation and officials from the Departments involved always gave an explanation as to the effects of a directive. The product liability directive was first discussed by the Joint Committee on Secondary Legislation and was subsequently brought to the House by the Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise and Employment, Deputy O'Rourke. The fact that Members of that committee had a good understanding of the directive made for an informed debate. That is the reason I am anxious to put in place a mechanism to allow directives to be analysed by the Houses of the Oireachtas, for example by a sub-committee of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs or a sub-committee of the House. I would like to hear the Minister's view on how she envisages more information and technical expertise being given to the Houses of the Oireachtas on EC regulations and EC Directives, now going through on the nod, because we do not have sufficient time to discuss them or that they are [1765] merely historical on the basis of being agreed so long ago that it makes no difference. We do not have an opportunity to make an input to how those directives should be put in place or to influence the decision which the Government will subsequently make in implementing that directive. At the end of the day the Houses of the Oireachtas will suffer and the general public will feel great alienation from Europe generally because of inadequate information given to them.

The principles of transparency and subsidiarity could be brought into play in this matter if we could find some mechanism or forum by which to address this important information and comprehension deficit — “comprehensions deficit” are the words used in the Institute of European Affairs. We have much information but I am trying to find a forum by which we can understand it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Shall we hear the Minister of State at this juncture or would she like to hear other speakers and then give a more comprehensive reply.

Mr. M. McDowell: The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Spring, indicated that he was sympathetic towards the drift of what Deputy Hogan and I said about the desirability of having a pre-emptive function for whatever committee is established by this House to monitor European secondary legislation. He indicated he would come back to that during today's debate. It occurs to me that we should take a number of things on board in this respect. First, the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, under Deputy Lenihan's chairmanship, is working well. It is not that I think the Members are untalented or lacking in understanding or capacity to understand issues, it is just that I do not see any necessary nexus between a foreign affairs committee and the process of monitoring European Community regulations and directives and their implementation here. I see a huge difference in function between the two. As I said last night, if angel dust regulations are to be considered by a committee of this kind I do not see why [1766] it should not be done by the committee of this House which is charged with overall responsibility in respect of agriculture rather than through a foreign affairs committee. In so far as it is a self selection process — let us forget about Deputy Shatter's fate for a second——

Ms E. Fitzgerald: That was self selected.

Mr. M. McDowell: At least in all that process the people who volunteer and who sought membership of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs did not tell their party leaders that they were omniscient and could deal with everything that would come up under an EC regulation. I do not see the logical connection with the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs although I can see that this House has limited resources and that some committee has to do the work.

I have a grave doubt as to whether it is sufficient simply to look at directives and regulations when they are handed down from Europe. It is more important to get in when they are at the draft stage. As our treaty obligations require us to implement directives, and regulations have direct effect in Ireland, there is not much point in considering regulations after they have been made since we are bound by them at that stage. It is much more important to deal with the draft regulations when they are on the table and in the negotiations process at Brussels level. If the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, chaired by Deputy Lenihan, is to be the vehicle for considering such regulations and obviously somebody somewhere must ordain it — we will not change that today — then the sub-committee of the foreign affairs committee which will deal with this territory should get the co-operation of Government on this issue, and take to itself the function of looking at draft regulations and directives to see how they will impinge on Ireland when they are adopted at European Community level. That sounds like a massive workload but at least it would have a genuine effect.

The present process of monitoring in [1767] retrospect reminds me of a financial scam in my own constituency where an individual involved in an investment fraud announced he was bonding in arrears. Monitoring in arrears is how we proceed in this House in respect of European regulations and it does not work. I ask Deputy Lenihan to consider this. I am not suggesting it should be done lightly. We should change the focus of what the foreign affairs committee proposes to do on that front and say we will be prospective in future, that we are not interested in reviewing what happened. We would like to see what will happen and whether Ireland should influence it.

If the legislators in this House are bound, as we are, by the treaty and the method adopted by the 1972 Act to implement, often by Statutory Instrument — delegated legislation — directives from the European Communities then the responsible approach to this matter is to seek to influence the directive before it is made rather than querying its implementation when the decision has been taken.

There is nothing wrong with this House taking a prospective view of the matter and looking around corners as is done in Denmark.

In relation to section 6, Deputy Hogan suggested that regulations should be referred for approval before implementation. As I understand European Community law — I may be wrong — regulations in general have a direct effect. The question of referring them to a committee before implementation simply does not arise. I do not know the shelf life of this measure but hints from the Minister's amendments suggest that this has been around for some time and has only now been produced. Section 6 (2) states:

An order shall not be made under subsection (1) of this section before the establishment by both Houses of the Oireachtas of a Joint Committee to be known as the “Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs”.

That subsection is redundant as we have [1768] gone past that stage and it could properly be deleted from the section. The committee should now take the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Spring at his word when he said yesterday he was interested in the committee becoming involved in pre-emptive examination of draft regulations and draft directives rather than simply confining ourselves to examining on an historical basis what has happened. In the ordinary course of events I suggest that when a draft regulation on, for example thryostatic substances or whatever angel dust is called comes before the committee, a brief memo should be prepared and submitted to other Deputies who may be interested in it, such as party spokesmen on agriculture. If a committee of this House deals with agriculture it should be sent to that committee asking for its observations. As this issue will eventually be dealt with why not deal with it now?

The last issue I should like to raise is one which arises in the context of the Meagher case. In many cases a choice has to be made as to whether it is appropriate to legislate or to regulate under the 1972 Act. That choice must be given some consideration by this House in advance of a decision being made. For example, the Government in the name of the Minister for Enterprise and Employment, Deputy Quinn, agreed to use the trade marks Bill which I introduced in this House as a model in implementing the EC Trade Mark Directive. For more than a year we have been debating whether this matter should be dealt with by regulation or statute.

There are many worthwhile reasons it should be dealt with by way of a statute, but this House was never consulted on the matter. The decision will be made by the Executive of the State without reference to this House. That may be irrelevant in most legislation but on major issues of principle in this regard the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs should be able to recommend that certain directives can be dealt with by regulation or by statute. The House should be notified in advance that people on its behalf —legislators as opposed to the Executive [1769] of the State — have made a fundamental choice and a recommendation in that respect. We could then take some responsibility for decisions made in our name.

Proinsias De Rossa: In regard to regulations and how they are dealt with in this House, we are touching on what is a basic problem for societies generally in which representative democracies operate. In such societies there is a general explosion in the range of matters for which governments have responsibility while at the same time a growing alienation among people from the system of representative democracy because they do not see it having power or relevance to their daily lives. That is particularly true in the case of the less well off in society. In constituencies here where there are high levels of unemployment there is usually a low turn-out of people at election time. Those who are poor, who have been unemployed for a long time or have dropped out of the education system believe that the political system is of little relevance to them other than for making representations to have their tap fixed in the bathroom, or their roof or light fitting mended. While we are attempting to effect some reform in this House to cope with the levels of work and legislation with which we have to deal, we are not addressing the fundamental issues of how a representative democracy copes with the type of alienation which exists in our society.

The question of this House approving regulations and implementing directives should be given careful consideration. The buzz word nowadays is “transparency”, people must know what is being done. That is a basis of democracy, knowledge improves people's capacity to influence decisions. However, a principle which is at least as important relates to participation and that is where this House and similar systems fail. People outside this House do not feel they are involved in the decision-making process. They may be aware of what is taking place but feel powerless to influence it. That is a common reaction among my constituents [1770] to the European Community who believe the European Community is about farmers. Every time they turn on their radios a discussion is taking place about farmers, headage payments, the Green £ and so on. People are aware that farmers are getting the biggest share of the Structural Funds and the Common Agricultural Policy.

I do not intend to enter into a debate on farmers, but there is a perception in society that the more powerful a lobby the more influence it has, particularly behind the scenes. Obviously, Deputies from rural areas will be lobbied by farmers, but the urban population of this State now outnumbers that of the rural population. Yet, far more attention is paid to agricultural issues in this House than to urban issues. I am not merely referring to Dublin as an urban area; there are many urban areas, large and small, outside Dublin city which are commonly referred to as rural areas. The small towns of this country are urban areas and are as badly hit by the unfair manner in which resources are shared out as any poor urban area in Dublin city.

The matter of regulations and the manner in which they are dealt with in this House is important and I am concerned that the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs might not be capable of coping with the volume of work involved. I do not believe that the 30 Members of that committee have any less expertise than Members of any other body of people in terms of their capacity to deal with a range of issues. We all have a passing knowledge of most subjects because of our role as public representatives. To an extent, we are Jacks of all trades and masters of none, but that is acceptable. It would be a bad day for this country if this House was made up of experts and professionals who would pursue a narrow focus in regard to certain issues.

We accepted the replacement of the Joint Committee on Secondary Legislation by the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs far too easily. The work of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs indicates clearly that there is a need for such [1771] a committee. That has been demonstrated by the range of issues that committee addressed since its establishement a few months ago. The Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs has already established a European sub-committee made up of ten Members which presumably will deal with most of the regulations referred to it. The most effective way the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs can operate is to get in at the beginning when the Commission or the Council make a proposal for a regulation or produces a White Paper or a Green Paper. I understand the Commission intends to produce far more discussion documents before putting pen to paper in making proposals for regulations. At that point the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, through the European sub-committee, can have most influence.

Deputy McDowell's suggestion in regard to expertise and referral of agricultural matters to a committee could be implemented, even under the provisions as they stand, if we take into account the procedure that operates in the European Parliament. When a proposal comes before the Parliament for a regulation it is referred to the committee with responsibility for that area but then opinions are sought from all the other committees that might have an interest in that issue. That is a system that the Foreign Affairs Committee could perhaps operate. To take Deputy McDowell's example, if something relating to angel dust comes before the Foreign Affairs Committee it can be referred to the other committees for their opinions and that would be a worthwhile way of dealing with it. It does not mean the other committees would make decisions on it. They would simply present a wider perspective than might be available on the Foreign Affairs Committee or the European subcommittee.

Another aspect of how we deal with matters European is the issue of transparency and participation by the public. It would be a useful initiative to have public hearings on issues of importance although it would not be feasible to do [1772] so in relation to every proposal coming forward. I have in mind that by 1996 the Maastricht Treaty will have to be reviewed and in the meantime there will be a number of new member states. Hopefully, the EFTA countries will be in the European Community by then. The question of enlargement of the Community, reviewing the Maastricht Treaty, the evolution of common and foreign security policy, proposals for a common defence policy and the possibility of common defence itself are all major issues that the Foreign Affairs Committee is going to have to deal with and promptly, because the world goes on. It will not wait for us to get our act together. This review is already under way, looking at institutions and how they are to evolve and develop. The Foreign Affairs Committee does have a major task, as does the European sub-Committee in tandem with it. It would therefore be useful to initiate public hearings on those issues. How they may be organised is something that can be discussed, but it would provide for a feeling among the public that they are being brought into the decision-making process and will not be presented in 1996 or 1997 with a new treaty which they have only vaguely heard about because the Foreign Affairs Committee has been talking about it. There would be a very positive response from various public and voluntary organisations to such an initiative.

Although I do not disagree in principle with what Deputy Hogan is saying, his proposals come in at the tail end of a process which can take up to two years in terms of preparing regulations for final agreement and it is at the early stages that we need to get in on the act. Given the terms of reference of the Foreign Affairs Committee, we can use a bit of creativity and initiative to develop the role of this House and, working in partnership with the public outside this House, develop a greater understanding of what the European Community is and what its objectives are, so that when the next referendum is held we can have a rational debate about the differences we [1773] have on how Europe should grow and evolve.

Ms E. Fitzgerald: I agree that there should be more effective scrutiny by the House and the Committee of the secondary legislation of the European Communities. We had very effective scrutiny of such legislation in the past under the old committee which was extremely active. The Foreign Affairs Committee has been established relatively recently, as has its sub-committee on European Affairs, so to some extent we are breaking new ground. Some of the matters referred to can be reviewed after a period of operation.

I take on board the point made in regard to scrutiny of draft directives at an early stage and the role the Foreign Affairs Committee could play in that area. That would be helpful in getting the views of Members on various issues before they are decided because, as has been pointed out, once a decision is made in Brussels, it is too late. The Department of Foreign Affairs will certainly be very glad to facilitate Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee in that area.

On the procedures to be adopted in relation to existing directives and how they are to be brought into force in Irish legislation, at this stage the Government is not anxious to accept Deputy Hogan's amendments but rather to proceed on the basis of putting the Foreign Affairs Committee in place of the old Joint Committee on Secondary Legislation of the European Communities. Let us see how that runs and review the situation at a later date. Because the committee has not got its teeth into this area yet it would be premature to change a system which has served us well in the past. A more effective change would be for the Foreign Affairs Committee to take the opportunity of looking at directives which are in preparation with the assistance of the Department of Foreign Affairs. I am sure the chairperson of that committee will be glad to get involved in that process.

Deputy McDowell suggested that an [1774] agriculture committee rather than the Foreign Affairs Committee should look at issues like angel dust. Deputy De Rossa's point on that was well made. In terms of legislation we have to specify which committee of this House is to be responsible because we cannot have uncertainly about which committee should deal with certain issues. The consultation process is one that the committee will avail of in looking at specific areas and the advice of officials in the relevant Government Departments will be available. That will be helpful.

Deputy De Rossa made much wider comments in regard to information generally, the sense of alienation from the process in Europe that people feel and the issue of the information glut. That is a very real issue and something that was well articulated during the debate on the Maastricht referendum. The sheer volume of information emanating from Brussells leaves us all a bit bewildered. Government generally has a major role to play in improving the quality of information available to the public. In my Department we are examining at the moment, and will be doing so during the summer and autumn, the whole issue of freedom of information legislation and, related to that, the question of opening up the process of information giving. It is not only about a “Woodward and Bernstein” type of investigation, but about a culture of volunteering information and presenting it to the public in a form that is easily digestible and readily understood. We are considering this matter on a broader front. The provision of information is a specific problem in relation to Europe having regard to the volume of information emanating from it. We also need to address the provision of information in our administrative structures and in society.

The Government is negotiating firmly to obtain the share of EC Structural Funds it considers justified under the Conclusions of the Edinburgh Summit. The Government took a firm stand in rejecting the £7.5 billion on offer last week as it does not adequately represent [1775] the Conclusions of that Summit, nor the legitimate expectations arising from it. The Government will be firm in pursuing what is best in the national interest in regard to this issue. I support Deputy Hogan's point regarding the use of the funds and ensuring they are spent wisely on permanent jobs. Deputies on all sides have made the point that this round of Structural Funds will be the last opportunity to receive funding on this scale. It is essential that those funds are spent wisely in the national interest.

In that context Deputy De Rossa referred to trickle down economics, growth initiative and the role of the European Investment Bank. The level of economic activity in Europe must be considered. It is worrying that economic growth in European economies is forecast to fall by 0.5 per cent in the coming year. We export 70 per cent of what we produce to our major market in Europe and the prospect of a slump in that market is worrying having regard to the effects it would have on our employment levels. We need to apply macroeconomic policies at European level to address the issue of economic growth. We cannot discuss macroeconomic policies in the absence of other activities because such policies do not benefit the poorer sections of the community and the disadvantaged. Under our negotiations on the Structural Funds a detailed programme is being prepared to address this issue. Unless there is specific targeted action at disadvantaged communities there is a danger that the programme will not address their needs. Special intervention is necessary in areas which have become unemployment black spots. Disadvantaged areas and the unemployed must be targeted. A general increase in economic activity will not provide for the needs of disadvantaged areas unless specific measures are taken to reintegrate communities, where there is great unemployment, back into the economic mainstream. Deputies can be assured that a programme on those lines will form a central feature of the Government's national development plan. It is not sufficient [1776] to rely on trickle down macroeconomic effects to provide for those people.

Specific measures must be taken to provide for communities which have been blighted by long term unemployment. Necessary measures must be taken to break the cycle of unemployment and ensure that the long term unemployed and their families get a reasonable share of jobs which will become available from any expansion in economic activity. Such a change does not happen by accident and the work undertaken under the Programme for Economic and Social Progress and area based partnerships is evidence that these areas must be specially provided for. Very few employers will fill vacancies with the long term unemployed. Job opportunities will not trickle down to the unemployed unless specific measures are taken. Good work has been undertaken by the inner city partnership in relation to jobs in Dublin. It identified jobs coming on stream and the long term unemployed who would be interested in those jobs. It tailored training programmes to place people in those jobs. We need to take such an approach to ensure that the disadvantaged in communities obtain a reasonable share of benefits. Those benefits do not just trickle down from economic policy.

There is a link between educational opportunities and unemployment. There is a danger that the problem of unemployment and consequent disadvantage may be transmitted from one generation to another. Children whose parents are out of work lose hope in respect of their job opportunities. They may not perform well at school and consequently face life of long term unemployment. Successive surveys of school leavers undertaken by the Department of Labour show a direct link between the level of education and the chances of securing employment. Children who leave school early without formal qualifications are likely to face long term unemployment. Therefore, early intervention through investment in education is necessary to provide for those in disadvantaged areas of long term [1777] unemployment. It is important not to rely on trickle down economics to provide for the disadvantaged but to invest in training the unemployed to prepare them to compete for the jobs coming on stream and provide them with hope for the future.

Deputy McDowell referred to the shelf life of the Bill. The Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs has now been established. Subsection (2) of section 6 may now be superfluous but it need not be amended because the section as it stands will be effective.

Mr. M. McDowell: It will not do any harm.

Ms E. Fitzgerald: The section need not be amended and I commend it to the House. The Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs should encourage openness in addressing issues. Consideration will be given as to how that committee can make a genuine input to Community legislation by its early involvement in relation to future negotiations. That position will become clearer as its work evolves, particularly in regard to the work of the European sub-committee. I cannot accept Deputy Hogan's amendment.

Mr. Lenihan: I welcome the views of the Minister and my colleagues in regard to the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs. The committee should examine draft directives and regulations before such measures are formulated. I have had discussions with officials of the EC office in Dublin and, if necessary, they may be invited to attend meetings of the committee. It is important to ensure that the committee examines proposed draft directives and regulations before they are implemented. The committee must establish a process for achieving this through the European sub-committee. I welcome the views expressed in that regard and I am pleased that the Minister and the Department of Foreign Affairs supports it.

As chairman of the committee I thank the Department of Foreign Affairs in particular for the forthcoming manner in [1778] which we were met by its officials. This further extension of the committee's work into a type of pre-examination of directives and regulations is supported by the Department and is in line with what European affairs committees in other Community parliaments do. The democratic comprehension deficit, as described by Deputy Hogan, can be best addressed through the national parliaments and their committees, whether foreign or European affairs.

Mr. J. Bruton: In that case why will the Deputy not support the amendment?

Mr. Lenihan: I realise this is not a universally held view, there are people who would wish to see the European Parliament strengthened to a greater degree, and I would agree with that. However, the European Parliament, particularly with its enlargement, will become more cumbersome as a parliament. In that context, if the principle of subsidiarity or regional devolution in regard to decision-making is to be established in a parliamentary sense, this must be done via the national parliaments. That is the reality. This would involve strengthening the foreign affairs or the European affairs committees of the national parliaments to allow them become involved in the discussion of policy matters pertaining to regulations and directives before they are formalised.

Up to now we have had post-factum examinations only which, while appropriate, did not provide for a constructive democratic contribution on the part of parliamentarians. The way to canalise our constructive input is by seeing these regulations and directives in draft form, expressing our opinions on them and establishing the process to do that. I propose to do this now that we are given the green light by the Minister. As chairman of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs I will arrange to have Commission officials, in particular, before us shortly for discussions. It is through those officials that we can establish the practical [1779] channels so that this submission can be made available to our subcommittee.

The subcommittee on European legislation has been established and will be meeting next Wednesday to appoint a chairman and to structure its future work. It is desirable that the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs should proceed on the basis of establishing subcommittees to deal with particular areas. It has already decided on two areas of obvious interest, namely, that of European legislation on which a subcommittee has been established, and the area in respect of development aid. Those two subcommittees will hold their first meeting next Wednesday.

I was glad to hear the Minister refer to the utilisation of the Structural and Cohesion Funds. This is very important because, whatever the figure, it will represent a major tranche. There will be difficulties in obtaining a similar figure in future years due to the various complications that will exist in the Community and in eastern and central Europe by that time. It is vital that we apply ourselves to the utilisation of those funds with wisdom and care. There are many reports to hand and one I recommend to the Minister is that from the North Clondalkin Project — I understand it is before the Government. Clondalkin was chosen as a pilot area for the expenditure of such funds to address the problems of real deprivation and unemployment.

I realise I have deviated slightly from the main issue but my comments are relevant to this debate. I thank the Chair for his indulgence.

Mr. J. Bruton: I am sorry this debate is straying from the important constitutional and parliamentary point that is at the heart of these amendments. I can only regard the introduction of references to the Structural Funds as an attempt by the Minister to distract attention from a very serious issue.

The Minister, and the House, must take their responsibilities as elected representatives very seriously in this matter. The High Court has found that certain actions taken by an Irish Administration [1780] were invalid because they had not been properly approved in this House. The Fine Gael amendment is designed to ensure in law that this House, by its own authority in passing this amendment, must be brought into the process. Instead, Deputies such as Deputy Lenihan are willing to accept administrative concession from the Executive that, with grace and favour, it will refer directives to his committee. Deputy Lenihan should not accept that. It is a matter for this House to establish its rights in this issue separate from the Executive. It should be the law of this land that this House has a right, not a concession, to approve laws being made in our name. That is not happening and, because it did not happen in the previous case, the High Court found that the “angel dust” regulation was invalid. In other words, the High Court was willing to stand up for the privileges of this House but the Members of it are not. That is a disgraceful situation.

I have been a Member of this House for many years. I do not normally intervene in Committee Stage debates but I regard this as a matter of fundamental importance. Nobody has the right to make law here other than the Oireachtas. No Minister and no official making regulations can make law. This House makes law and it is wrong, therefore, that this amendment should not be accepted. I deplore the Minister's attitude in this regard, particularly in view of the fact that the Tánaiste gave an indication last-night that he was favourably disposed towards these amendments.

I am unwilling to accept some concession from the Minister that if we are all nice she will refer these regulations to the committee. That is not a matter for her to concede. The courts have found that this House as of right should be involved and it should not be a matter of administrative concession for the Minister to send documents — if she receives them in time — to Deputy Lenihan's committee. Deputy Lenihan's committee should be given the right, by this House and not by the Minister, to have sight of those documents. This should be governed [1781] by law and not by administrative concession.

I regard this as a matter of considerable importance particularly in view of the fact that the Executive has adopted an á la carte approach over the years to the implementation of EC law. They have abused the concessions given to them in this House under the European Communities Act, 1972 to make laws under the guise of EC directives that stretch beyond what is required by those directies. They have also taken unto themselves the right not to implement certain other directives when required to do so. For example, since the beginning of this year we are under a legal obligation as a State to outlaw money laundering. The Executive has decided not to act on that. On the other hand, they have decided to act on other EC directives. The decision to implement one directive and not another is a legislative decision and the Executive has no right to make that decision, that is a matter for this House. The choice not to act on money laundering but to act on some other directive is a legislative choice. It is a political choice, not an administrative one and is a choice that should be made by this House. All directives and regulations which are required to be incorporated into Irish law should be referred to the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs so that politicians on all sides of the House can have an opportunity to air their views on whether a particular directive or regulation should be implemented.

In recent days I received a long list of directives that have not been transposed into Irish law by the Irish Administration. It is an appalling catalogue of inefficiency and ineptitude that our Executive has failed to implement laws which confer rights on our people. It was the intention of the European Community that these laws would come into effect but, because of administrative inertia or administrative choice — some Ministers may not even be aware in some cases that they have not acted in accordance with their legal obligations under the Treaty — they have not been incorporated into our law. I mentioned one such Act dealing with [1782] money laundering but I have a computer print-out of about 100 directives that have not been transposed into Irish law which I can supply to the Minister, if it is of interest to her.

This matter is of particular importance for another reason. Under the Francowich judgment recently reached by the European Court, it is open to any Irish citizen who feels their interests have been prejudiced in any way by the failure of the Irish Government to fulfil its legal obligations and transpose into Irish law an EC directive, to sue the Government for the loss they have suffered. The Exchequer is now in jeopardy of incurring substantial legal costs because of the failure of the Irish administration to implement particular directives — they are implemented a la carte with the Government choosing which they will implement.

The best enemy of that abuse of administrative discretion is a large dose of fresh air in the form of scrutiny as of right by the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs of all directives on which we are required to act. This should be done not as an administrative concession by the Minister, gratefully accepted as promised from the ministerial table, but as of right. As a self-respecting Legislature we should decide that this is an obligation on the Executive imposed by the Legislature in regard to a legislative function. I strongly urge the Minister to change her mind and accept the amendments in the name of Deputy Philip Hogan because they enshrine a very important constitutional principle about the separation of powers to the effect that the rights of the Legislature should be protected by the Legislature and should not be the subject of grace and favour concessions from any Executive.

The Minister's politics do not prompt me to say this. Successive Governments, including Governments of which Fine Gael was part, probably have abused their powers in either going further than the directives provide or failing to implement directives. It is not a political matter; it is a matter of the rights of the Legislature as against those of the [1783] Executive. Deputy Hogan's amendment seeks to vindicate the rights of the Legislature in this matter and I urge the Minister to reconsider her rejection of the amendment. I particularly urge Deputy Lenihan, who has longer service in this House than I have, to assert the rights of the committee of which he is chairman rather than simply be willing to accept concessions from the Executive in a matter that is our proper province, not that of the Executive.

Acting Chairman (Mr. McGrath): I remind Deputies that all Stages of this Bill must be passed by 12.30 p.m. and I am sure Deputy Hogan will be pushing his amendment to a vote.

Mr. Hogan: I will indeed.

Mr. J. Bruton: We hope we will not have to do so.

Mr. M. McDowell: I agree with Deputy Bruton that the 1972 procedure, as amended, is unsatisfactory. It was ameded to allow regulations to be brought before the House and, subject to agreement of this House, to be annulled, but as pointed out last night and today, that is an illusory right and does not amount to proper scrutiny. I agree with the general philosophical underpinnings of Deputy Bruton's comments. The only aspect on which I differ is that I do not believe the Government will concede the point. I am addressing practical improvements that could be made in the event of the Government not conceding that point.

Deputy Lenihan, Deputy De Rossa, Deputy Hogan and I are not seeking a concession from the Executive. We believe we have the absolute right on the committee to go anywhere in Europe to get any material and to call people before us to question them about any matter.

Mr. Lenihan: That is right.

Mr. M. McDowell: We will not be told by the Executive which directives in draft form we should consider. We would not [1784] accept dictation from the Department of Foreign Affairs as to what our agenda will be in respect of European Community regulations and directives. I think Deputy Lenihan agrees that is not what is envisaged. In the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs we are taking on ourselves the role outlined by Deputy Bruton.

Mr. J. Bruton: It should be enshrined in law.

Mr. Lenihan: We are doing so ourselves.

Mr. J. Bruton: If these amendments are passed that will be validated as a right, not a concession.

Mr. M. McDowell: The amendments are slightly suspect. The committee will supervise not merely selected regulations after the horse has bolted but prospective draft regulations and directives, and we will take that job seriously.

Mr. Lenihan: That sums up precisely what we will do.

Mr. M. McDowell: In that context two matters concern me. This job involves a huge workload, and the Tánaiste has frequently said the committee will have resources. Complex directives or sets of regulations such as the USCITS Directive passed a number of years ago must be read through, and resources are necessary to provide assistance to the committee for this purposes, to point out what is relevant and to elicit comment on matters from other bodies. That job will not be done on a voluntary basis by Deputies in their spare time. Resources are necessary if we are to take that task seriously. We will have to call on the blank cheque the Tánaiste gave us when he said resources should be made available to the committee.

What Deputy De Rossa said is particularly apt and stimulating, that is, that outside bodies should have an input in the process of inspecting in advance draft regulations and directives. It seems [1785] Deputy Lenihan will have to look for money to put advertisements in newspapers to make the public aware of committee meetings so that they have an opportunity to make submissions. That is the way to deal with the information deficit referred to earlier. I am very supportive of Deputy Lenihan in everything he is doing on the committee, but in this case there will have to be a complete change in terms of the committee's resources and the financial implications of our role. I am not prepared, and I do not think any other Member of the committee would be prepared to participate in a sham whereby we pretend to carry out a supervisory role.

Proinsias De Rossa: I have already put on record that in principle I support Deputy Hogan's amendments. I do not propose to get into crossfire with Deputy Bruton in regard to his points. It seems the 1972 Act already provides for review of all regulations by the joint committee, and perhaps the amendments proposed by Deputy Hogan will strengthen that position. I have no problem in principle with this matter, but we must be more far-reaching than that. When the Government makes regulations the die is cast. We need to consider the process before the European Community decides to make Regulations because there are two distinct things — the regulation the Government makes to implement a Directive already decided at European level in the context of Irish conditions and Irish law, and the proposal by the European Community in a global sense. We need to be capable of dealing with those two distinct matters.

The committee must look at proposals for regulation by the Government because clearly the Government can decide to implement a directive in a way which may not be acceptable to Members of the House or sections of the community. I need only refer to regulations made last year by the Minister for Social Welfare with regard to the European Court's decision on women's rights to alleviation payments, when the Department of Social Welfare made regulations [1786] simply wiping out women's rights to those alleviation payments. I had fairly robust debates with the Minister, Deputy Woods, on that issue. I would have liked a committee of this House to look at those regulations before the Minister put them into effect. We must distinguish between looking at the issue when the European Community are deciding on their regulations and directives and having an input on how they evolve, and having an input into what the Government decides on how those directives and regulations should be implemented.

We should not forget the important role MEPs can have in the discussion and consultation process. We have 15 MEPs in the Republic and three in Northern Ireland who are Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee whose full-time work involves looking at what the European Commission and the Council are doing and so on. They would have a fund of knowledge and information on which we should draw as, indeed, we should draw from the European Parliament and Commission offices in Dublin and from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Foreign Affairs Committee should have a role in relation to what the Government is doing at Council meetings in Brussels. There should be some procedure whereby Ministers would brief the committee, tell them what they propose to do, tell them before going to Brussels about upcoming issues. This would give us an opportunity to express our views on what approach should be taken. The Danish procedure is a lot more direct in that the Danish committee on European affairs actively directs their Minister in regard to what he may and may not do. I understand that if a Danish Minister is not getting his way at Council level and he wants to compromise, he must consult with the Danish committee before he can change the position they have given him. That is a much tighter procedure. I am not sure that we would ever get that here but it might have been better had we had that clout in relation to the Taoiseach in Edinburgh, but that is for another debate. The Foreign Affairs Committee [1787] gives us an opening for doing a lot more in relation to how we run our business in this country. It is an important initiative, one which will benefit politics generally in the long run.

Mr. Hogan: I thank Deputies for their contributions on the amendments but I am disappointed that the Minister of State did not produce any proposal in order to underpin the goodwill which I thought I was getting from the Minister for Foreign Affairs on this matter last evening.

Deputy Bruton made the important point that this House has a right to scrutinise various directives that are coming into force. On foot of the High Court case which the Government lost, it is important that various directives that have been implemented since 1972 are validated. It is important to ensure that we have proper scrutiny of future EC directives. The Minister referred to availability of information on how directives will affect ordinary people and on how they will be implemented. I am touched by the Minister's genuflection to the concept of freedom of access to information. The Minister has enshrined her views in the Bill which will come before us in the autumn and is trying to find a way in which European information should be disseminated to the ordinary people. It was difficult to get from her an ESRI report on the National Development Plan and how we fared in the last round of Structural Funds.

Ms E. Fitzgerald: It was published as soon as the final version was received.

Mr. Hogan: The Minister for Finance indicated to the House in a written reply that that report was merely a document to advise the Government on how the national plan should be formulated and that it was not going to be published. Under pressure, the Minister of State had to come into this House to give an executive summary of that report on how funds were spent, on how we in this House could benefit from an input detailing [1788] how we felt funds could be better spent to benefit the country in the next round and in devising the national development plan.

Deputy De Rossa made a valid point about the role of MEPs. The knowledge and information at their disposal should be used by the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs. Information and officials should be made available to the joint committee as was the case with the old Joint Committee on Secondary Legislation of the European Communities. Committee Members should have an opportunity to make a case on how directives should be implemented. The fact that Deputy Bruton referred to 92 directives which have not been implemented clearly points to the casual approach of the Government to transposing EC directives into domestic law.

This House should be able to debate issues in an organised way. I am disappointed that the Minister has not come in here to give a clear direction on how the Government would like us to scrutinise EC directives and implement the spirit of the High Court case. Perhaps the Government feels it can win the Supreme Court case. I am not an expert and I bow to my colleague, Deputy Michael McDowell, on all these legal issues. My fundamental point is that the House should have an opportunity to scrutinise and validate EC directives and we should have an input before such laws are enacted.

Ms E. Fitzgerald: I deny any suggestion by Deputy Bruton that it is by grace and favour that the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs will look at Community legislation in preparation. I said that the Foreign Affairs Committee is entitled to look at this legislation and that it is much more helpful if it looks at it at an early stage and that the Department of Foreign Affairs will be anxious and happy——

Mr. J. Bruton: Why not accept the amendment, then?

[1789] Ms E. Fitzgerald: ——to facilitate the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs. The Bill seeks to transfer or replace the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Secondary Legislation of the European Communities with a Foreign Affairs Committee. There is an appeal to the Supreme Court on the Meagher judgements and that will be looked at in due course. The sub-committee of the Foreign Affairs Committee has only been established. It has not yet started its work. A commitment has been given to [1790] review the position and return to the House if any changes are required.

Acting Chairman: As it is now 12.30 p.m. I am required to put the following question in accordance with an Order of the Dáil of this day: “That the sections undisposed of and the Title are hereby agreed to in Committee and the Bill, as amended, is accordingly reported to the House; that Fourth Stage is hereby completed and that the Bill is hereby passed”.

Question put.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 65; Níl, 26.

Ahern, Michael.

Ahern, Noel.

Aylward, Liam.

Bell, Michael.

Bhreathnach, Niamh.

Bree, Declan.

Brennan, Matt.

Brennan, Séamus.

Briscoe, Ben.

Broughan, Tommy.

Browne, John (Wexford).

Burton, Joan.

Byrne, Hugh.

Collins, Gerard.

Costello, Joe.

Davern, Noel.

Dempsey, Noel.

Doherty, Seán.

Ellis, John.

Fitzgerald, Brian.

Fitzgerald, Eithne.

Fitzgerald, Liam.

Flood, Chris.

Foley, Denis.

Gallagher, Pat the Cope.

Gallagher, Pat.

Haughey, Seán.

Howlin, Brendan.

Hyland, Liam.

Jacob, Joe.

Kavanagh, Liam.

Kemmy, Jim.

Kenneally, Brendan.

Kenny, Seán.

Kirk, Séamus.

Kitt, Michael P.

Lenihan, Brian.

Leonard, Jimmy.

McDaid, James.

McDowell, Derek.

Moffatt, Tom.

Morley, P.J.

Moynihan, Donal.

Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.

Ó Cuív, Éamon.

O'Dea, Willie.

O'Donoghue, John.

O'Hanlon, Rory.

O'Keeffe, Batt.

O'Keeffe, Ned.

O'Leary, John.

O'Shea, Brian.

O'Sullivan, Toddy.

Power, Seán.

Reynolds, Albert.

Ryan, Eoin.

Ryan, John.

Ryan, Seán.

Shortall, Róisín.

Stagg, Emmet.

Taylor, Mervyn.

Treacy, Noel.

Wallace, Dan.

Walsh, Eamon.

Woods, Michael.

Níl

Allen, Bernard.

Boylan, Andrew.

Bradford, Paul.

Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).

Bruton, John.

[1791]Deasy, Austin.

Deenihan, Jimmy.

Durkan, Bernard J.

Flaherty, Mary.

Foxe, Tom.

Harte, Paddy.

Hogan, Philip.

Kenny, Enda.

Bruton, Richard.

Crawford, Seymour.

Creed, Michael.

Crowley, Frank.

Currie, Austin.

[1792]McCormack, Pádraic.

McGrath, Paul.

Nealon, Ted.

Noonan, Michael (Limerick East).

O'Keeffe, Jim.

Sheehan, P.J.

Timmins, Godfrey.

Yates, Ivan.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Dempsey and Briscoe; Níl, Deputies E. Kenny and Browne (Carlow-Kilkenny).

Question declared carried.