Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 16 October 2012
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht
Election of Chairman
As we have a quorum of six members, including one Teachta Dála and one Seanadóir, I call the meeting to order. I wish to advise members that they must turn off their mobile telephones when attending committee meetings. Active mobile telephones interfere with the sound system and RTE has informed us that it will not broadcast any part of the meeting where interference from mobile telephones has occurred.
I wish to remind members that we are in public session. Apologies have been received from An Seanadóir Mac Conghail.
We will move on to the first item on the agenda. Subsequent to the discharge from this committee of Deputy Ciarán Lynch, I wish to read into the record of this meeting the relevant extract of the following order, which was passed by Dáil Éireann on 10 October 2012.
Go ndéanfar an Teachta Ciarán Ó Loinsigh a urscaoileadh ón Roghchoiste um Chomhshaol, Cultúr agus Gaeltacht agus go ndéanfar an Teachta Micheál Mac Cárthaigh a cheapadh ina ionad.I avail of this opportunity to thank Deputy Ciarán Lynch for his contribution to this committee and the work he has done. On behalf of the joint committee, I suggest the clerk to the committee send a letter of thanks to him and wish him well in his new position as Chairman of the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform. We would be delighted in Tipperary when we get rid of one Cork man but unfortunately on this occasion - or perhaps fortunately - another Cork man is about to replace the former Chairman.
That Deputy Ciarán Lynch be discharged from the Select Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht and that Deputy Michael McCarthy be appointed in substitution for him.
As the committee now has a vacancy for the position of Cathaoirleach of the committee, I will accept nominations for this position.
Are there any other nominations? As no other nominations have been received, I deem Deputy Michael McCarthy to be the new Cathaoirleach of the joint committee. I take this opportunity to wish him well. We began in the Seanad together and were elected to the Dáil at the same time and now he is taking over as Chairman of this committee. On behalf of the Fine Gael members and the other members, I wish him well in that task. I look forward to working constructively with him. I ask him to take the Chair.
I wish to thank the members of the committee for my appointment. I look forward to the role. In particular, I thank Deputy Coonan for his very warm comments. I am deeply honoured to be Chairman of this committee and I look forward to working with each and every member of the committee. I want to pay special tribute to the outgoing Chairman, Deputy Ciarán Lynch, for the very hard work he undertook while Chair of this committee. He gave the committee a great profile in his role. He worked very diligently and in conjunction with colleagues from all sides. I hope that I as Chairman can work in conjunction with colleagues to facilitate the continuation of that good work.
I have been briefed by Deputy Ciarán Lynch and by the clerk to the committee and I know a number of outstanding issues are being pursued. These include the local authorities and the arts, the historic buildings on Moore Street, the title of architect and the issue of pyrite in houses. We also have to deal with the work of the Dáil select sub-committees in regard to the Estimates and legislation. In this regard, the forthcoming climate change Bill will be a major challenge to each and every one of us. Given the pre-legislative and pre-budget scrutiny required, this may involve the entire joint committee.
Next year, 2013, will be a particularly busy one for us given Ireland's Presidency of the European Union, which will run from January to June. I note the programme for this, including the involvement of this committee, is being prepared at present and I look forward to coming back to the committee with the relevant information in the coming weeks.