Wednesday, 1 June 2005
Grangegorman Development Agency Bill 2004: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage.
In response to the comments made earlier, these amendments are unnecessary because section 21(2) already provides that the definition of "stakeholder" may include any person that either the Minister or the agency considers relevant. This covers adequately the Deputy's proposed amendment. Amendment No. 77 is not appropriate.
The residents of the Grangegorman neighbourhood will nominate their representative to the consultative group. The appointment will be made by the agency responsible for constituting the consultative group. They will nominate and the agency will appoint.
I move amendment No. 74:
In page 17, lines 39 to 40, to delete all words from and including "Northern" in line 39 down to and including "Authority" in line 40 and substitute "Health Service Executive".
I move amendment No. 84:
In page 23, between lines 16 and 17, to insert the following:
"(3) A register of disclosure under this section shall be made available for public inspection on similar terms to the register under section 27(7).".
The amendment is intended to ensure the register of interests will be made available for public inspection under this section on similar terms to the register under section 27. This is also intended for consistency.
The Parliamentary Counsel advises that the section, as drafted, is standard and that it would be inappropriate to include the amendment. Provision is made in section 27 for a register of interests to be maintained by the agency and a further register could be unwieldy. I, therefore, do not propose to accept the amendment.
Public access to the register is provided under section 27(7) but public access to a disclosure of a conflict of interest is not provided under section 28. I am concerned that conflicts of interest will not be subject to disclosure. Will the Minister comment on this?
I move amendment No. 85:
In page 24, between lines 25 and 26, to insert the following:
"(3) Reference to this section is inserted in Part I of the Third Schedule to the Freedom of Information Act 1997 and that Act shall apply to the Agency.".
The amendment seeks to ensure the Freedom of Information Act 1997 will apply to the agency.
I agree with the Deputy's intention but the appropriate mechanism is for the Minister for Finance to make an order under freedom of information legislation, which would extend the regime to the agency. I will arrange this with the Minister at the appropriate time.
I move amendment No. 87:
In page 27, line 20, after "require" to insert the following:
"in particular, such information as the Minister may require in order to furnish a full response to parliamentary questions".
This issue was addressed on Committee Stage and the Minister stated there is nothing to prevent the agency from providing information to the Minister. However, I seek the inclusion of a reference to replies to parliamentary questions. It is difficult to obtain information from Ministers and Members are often told to contact State bodies. I fail to see why the amendment cannot be accepted. If the Minister's intention is to reply to all parliamentary questions, as she stated on Committee Stage, there is no reason to refuse to take it on board. It might come in handy if she is ever on this side of the House.
The Bill provides for information to be made available. When parliamentary questions regarding other agencies under the Department's aegis are tabled, I ask my officials to obtain the necessary information for the replies. Section 35(4) permits this. It is our intention to reply to parliamentary questions on the basis that they relate to an agency. It is not necessary to specify this as it is covered by other sections dealing with the availability of information.
I move amendment No. 89:
In page 30, line 4, after "Survey" to insert "Ireland".
The amendment corrects a typographical order. The reference to "Ordnance Survey" should properly read "Ordnance Survey Ireland".
The Grangegorman neighbourhood shall comprise the electoral divisions (wards) of Arran Quay A, Arran Quay B, Arran Quay C, Arran Quay D, Arran Quay E, Inns Quay B, Inns Quay C and Cabra East C (as at 18 May 2005) which are delineated with a continuous blue verge line on the Dublin City Council map marked 'Grangegorman Neighbourhood' and bearing the seal of the Minister for Education and Science and the date 25 May 2005 which map is deposited in the Department of Education and Science, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1.".
I move amendment No. 91:
In page 30, to delete line 19.
The Dublin Institute of Technology has advised that the premises at 40-41 Sean McDermott Street have been sold and are no longer owned by it.
2. (1) Within one month of his or her appointment, the chairperson of the Agency shall invite community groups and associations, including resident and tenants associations, parish and district associations and groups, sports clubs, and similar non-commercial groups in the Grangegorman neighbourhood, to register as an interested 'registered group'.
(3) The chairperson of the Agency shall, within 14 days of the expiry of the registration period, publish a list of the registered groups on a website and make such other arrangements as he or she deems appropriate for the publication to the Grangegorman neighbourhood of the list of the registered groups.
3. (1) The chairperson of the Agency shall arrange a meeting of registered groups ('election meeting') to take place as soon as practicable after the expiry of the registration period. The purpose of the election meeting shall be the election of the residents' nominee to the Agency and the 2 residents' members of the Consultative Group.
(2) The chairperson of the Agency shall provide a ballot paper listing, in alphabetical order, all valid nominations in respect of the election of the residents' nominee to the Agency and the residents' members of the Consultative Group. The nominee shall be identified on the ballot paper by name and the organisation he or she represents.
(4) The individual who receives the highest number of votes shall be deemed to be elected to the position for which they were nominated. An individual may not simultaneously represent the residents on the Agency and be a member of the Consultative Group and, in the event that an individual receives sufficient votes in respect of both positions, he or she must elect one position and will be deemed to have forfeited the other position and the individual with the next highest number of votes in that election shall be deemed elected.
(3) In the event of a casual vacancy arising in relation to the residents' nominee to the Agency or residents' member of the Consultative Group, the chairperson of the Agency shall, within one month of the vacancy arising, seek nominations for appointment to the vacancy from the existing list of registered groups and shall arrange an election meeting as soon as practicable thereafter.".