Wednesday, 15 May 2019
Greyhound Racing Bill 2018 [Seanad]: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage
All the amendments in the grouping, including this one, are simple. They revolve around animal welfare and ensuring that greyhounds are treated well in Ireland and if they are sent abroad. We are either committed to animal welfare or not. We have plenty of examples of mistreatment, such as the recent cases of a horse that was found emaciated and a foal that was beaten to death near Fethard by two young people, and there is video footage of a hare being mauled by greyhounds. We are trying to prevent Irish greyhounds from being exported to countries where we know they will not be treated properly and where animal welfare regulations are lacking. If the amendments are not accepted, we will knowingly allow our greyhounds to be sent to appalling conditions. We know exactly what happens in such countries because animal welfare groups have the evidence and it can be seen in greyhounds rescued by the groups. Accepting the amendment will send out a message that we care. I accept that such a law will be difficult to implement but that should not mean we will not try. If we were to apply that yardstick when passing all legislation, nothing would get through. We are seeking to control where greyhounds are sent when they no longer race or make a profit for their owners. We do not want them to be sent to countries where we know they will be treated horrifically. By rejecting the amendments, we will say such exports are okay, sending greyhounds to these countries should be allowed, there is nothing we can do about it and everything is fine. Greyhounds deserve an awful lot more than that from the House. We should try to do what we can, difficult and all as it might be, to ensure their welfare. I reiterate that it is not as though we do not know what happens in some of these countries, which makes it all the more incumbent on us not to send greyhounds to them.
The amendments would provide for a white list of countries approved for the export of greyhounds and a report on greyhound exports. Before I address the specifics of the amendments, I emphasise that the Bill is primarily an industry Bill whose purpose is to improve the governance of Bord na gCon, strengthen regulatory controls in the industry, modernise sanctions and improve integrity, as identified in a number of reports on the sector. The Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 and the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 regulate welfare matters. Bord na gCon officers have been appointed as welfare officers and authorised officers for the purpose of enforcing both Acts.
The amendments are closely aligned with Deputy Broughan's Private Members' Bill. That Bill and the amendments propose the creation by the International Greyhound Forum, IGF, of an annual white list of countries to which it would be permitted to export greyhounds. The IGF is not a legal entity but a consultative forum comprising a mixture of semi-State and non-governmental bodies, including bodies not based in the State. The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine would be required to make regulations giving effect to the finalised annual white list. It is also proposed that a licensing regime would provide that the export of greyhounds to countries not on the white list or without a licence would attract a criminal sanction.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine examined the issue. We sought and obtained legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General in respect of the Private Members' Bill introduced by Deputy Broughan, which proposed legislation similar to what we are discussing. The advice was that the Private Members' Bill was incompatible with domestic and European law. The proposed legislation to ban the export of greyhounds to certain countries, EU or non-EU, would face significant legal difficulties with national and EU law and may also pose difficulties with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the obligations imposed by membership of the World Trade Organization. Even if it was legally possible to ban greyhound exports to certain countries, I am not convinced the amendments would have the desired effect. Nevertheless, I appreciate the motives of the Deputies proposing the amendments, given that they are concerned with the welfare of greyhounds, and I am not here to defend any country's record on animal welfare.
The amendments would be unworkable and impossible to enforce. The majority of greyhounds are exported to the UK. With 86% of greyhounds that are registered in the Greyhound Board of Great Britain's database being Irish bred, Bord na gCon estimates that this equates to approximately 7,000 greyhounds annually. It is not for the Department to police whether greyhounds sent to the UK or any other country are subsequently sent to another country. If the Department tried to do so, all it would do is add bureaucracy to responsible greyhound exporters and owners, while failing to prevent unscrupulous exporters from exporting greyhounds to countries with a problematic welfare record. They could refuse to give details of such a sale and, given that the UK and any other country are outside our jurisdiction, we would have no power to compel them to comply or punish them. Similarly, it would be impossible to prove in court that an Irish exporter sold a greyhound knowing it would be sold to a country not on the white list. It is for these reasons that our legal advice is that the provision is unworkable and that, therefore, it should not be included in legislation. It is important to state, however, that the Deputies and I share the aim of protecting the welfare of animals, despite our differences in respect of the amendments. The Department has a close working relationship with animal welfare charities in respect of all aspects of animal welfare.
Officials at the Department have met the welfare members of the International Greyhound Forum, which includes Dogs Trust, the ISPCA and Bord na gCon, to consider issues surrounding the export of greyhounds.
Section 28 of the Bill greatly improves the traceability of greyhounds by allowing Rásaíocht Con Éireann to make regulations on the capture of specified life events on its proposed traceability database, including the export of greyhounds. Such a traceability system will ensure better accountability by owners of racing greyhounds for greyhound welfare generally, as well as giving Rásaíocht Con Éireann the tools to identify problem areas and practices and react quickly. It will allow Rásaíocht Con Éireann to focus on the accountability of those who export greyhounds and will allow it to inform, educate and discourage those attempting unacceptable practices. Those who breach tracing regulations will be liable to the imposition of racing sanctions by the statutory independent control committee.
Board na gCon has always made it clear that it encourages and promotes the export of greyhounds only to countries that have established positive animal codes and practices. The Irish Retired Greyhound Trust, a registered charity funded by Bord na gCon, rehomes retired greyhounds abroad in the US, Canada, France, Italy, the Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Slovenia and at home in Ireland. In 2018 alone, more than 1,000 greyhounds were rehomed by the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust and other charities in receipt of financial assistance from Bord na gCon.
In addition, the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 obliges Bord na gCon to publish a code of practice for the welfare of greyhounds. The primary objective of the code is to set standards and clearly define what is expected of individuals engaged in the care and management of registered greyhounds. The board proposes to expand the existing code to include provisions with regard to best practice when exporting greyhounds. These will include information and guidance on the preparation of reports, transportation arrangements and advising the exporter on the need to research the proposed export destination to establish the prevailing animal welfare code and legislation.
Bord na gCon is a participant in the International Greyhound Forum, the organisation being proposed in amendment No. 1 as a decision maker with regard to the white list. At a recent meeting of the forum, Bord na gCon advised participants it would engage with and accept input from members of the forum in formulating the expanded code. The board has informed me it is fully committed to the expansion of the code and that the expanded code will be finalised when consideration of the Greyhound Racing Bill has passed through the Oireachtas.
With regard to reporting on the export of greyhounds, at present it is not possible to retrieve the information being requested by the Deputies. TRACES is the European Commission's multilingual online management tool for all sanitary requirements and is used to record the export of dogs. Approximately 30,000 users from more than 80 countries worldwide are interconnected through the TRACES tool's centralising of all data. However, TRACES does not differentiate between greyhounds and other dog breeds. As TRACES does not categorise animals within the same species, it is not possible to report on greyhounds exported to other countries. Given the difficulties in getting accurate data, the Deputies should appreciate the great difficulties that the production of an annual report on the export of greyhounds would present. At present, it is not possible to retrieve the information being requested by the Deputies and, therefore, not possible for a Minister to stand over an annual report that could be presented to the Oireachtas joint committee setting out the information detailed in the amendments tabled by the Deputies. For the reasons I have stated, I cannot accept the amendment.
I recognise the importance of the Bill and the widespread discussions and consultations the Minister of State has had, the necessity to bring forward good governance and the establishment of Rásaíocht Con Éireann and all it entails. We do not want to unduly hold up the progress of the Bill. I still believe the amendments are reasonable. The Minister of State has said making the white list and enforcing it under the amendments would be impossible but when one looks at international trade one finds all types of restrictions and rules. We have been getting used to President Trump introducing various sanctions and tariffs unilaterally across the board and, quite clearly, despite the Attorney General's advice, what the Minister of State is saying in this regard is absolutely not the case. When similar amendments were tabled in Seanad Éireann by the Civil Engagement group, Senator Ruane stated it is possible to seek a derogation under Article 36 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union based on public morality, public policy or public security or the protection of the health and life for humans, animals or plants. Clearly, there is a legal basis for what we seek to do. The genesis of the white list comes from the excellent advocacy group, Dogs Trust, and is simply to protect the animals because we have had endless horror stories of what has happened to our dogs in jurisdictions such as China and Macau.
It is particularly regrettable the Minister of State feels he cannot even accept amendment No. 7 on the annual reports. With a small amount of additional invigilation it should be possible at least to have a stab at getting the information. I hope at some stage it will come forward in the draw and I will have an opportunity to table a greyhound welfare Bill in my own name. Until then, the Minister of State should give serious consideration to including the definition of a white list of countries that do not have the requisite standards for animal welfare and all of the other amendments that seek to give impact to this. The Minister of State should at least consider amendment No. 7 because it is simply a case of asking for the report.
I acknowledge the extent of the engagement the Minister of State has undertaken with the animal welfare groups but our amendments are about going that extra step to ensure our animals are not knowingly being sent to a country where they will be mistreated. Amendment No. 5 pertains to the list of non-EU countries meeting minimum standards. Implementing it would be just a matter of employing somebody who can do research. We could know exactly where those countries are where there is no animal welfare legislation or where there is a little and it is not enforced.
Amendment No. 6 is not necessarily about wishing to fine and prosecute people. We have tabled it in order that owners will know that if they send their dogs to these countries, there will be consequences for them, whether in terms of a fine or a prison sentence. Let us not be under any illusion, unless a dog owner who sells a greyhound is 100% sure about where the dog is going, he or she knows it is not going to doggy heaven but instead is going to one of these countries. What happens if a greyhound is found, as has happened, being mistreated in Macau or Pakistan and is traced back to an owner in Ireland? What will happen to that owner? Will he or she get a slap on the wrist or will anything happen? There has to be a warning to other owners that this is being looked at and it will not be tolerated.
Amendment No. 7 is about transparency. I accept it might be difficult to have an annual report but surely we should be able to get some information on where the dogs are going. I do not understand why we do not have this information. Since last November, many more Irish greyhounds have ended up in China. We now know there are 41 Irish greyhounds on a Chinese dog breeding list. I would like to know what is happening with them. We know what happens in our puppy farms and we can only imagine what happens in the breeding establishments in those countries.
Previously, I have mentioned the greyhound Clon Eagle, which competed in Clonmel in 2018. It is now coursing in Pakistan. On a post I saw, it was advertised for sale for £5,000 sterling by an infamous sales agent and transporter who had his greyhounds seized in Kinsley track in the UK such were the horrific conditions they were in. What will the Bill do to prevent this and, when it happens, to ensure there are harsh repercussions?
Another issue is Brexit. With the UK out of the EU there will be a further minefield for Irish greyhounds and what might happen them. I want the Bill to do well but other animal welfare Bills have left loopholes and gaps and we are trying to avoid this with these amendments.
I thank the Deputies. I appreciate the motivation here. I shall address Deputy O' Sullivan's last point about Brexit and the nature of the exports to the UK, which is where an estimated 7,000 Irish-bred dogs are deemed to be on the register. EU law harmonises the rules on greyhound exports and therefore Ireland cannot act unilaterally. I do not have information on the four animals referred to by the Deputy, but I believe the Deputy said the animals went through another country before they went on. The International Greyhound Forum's welfare membership is made up of NGOs, interest groups, Bord na gCon, Dogs Trust, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ISPCA and others. In one sense we have to use that forum to put pressure on. If a person has a track record of exporting in another EU country, EU law can identify the person and prevent that. Ireland cannot, however, do this unilaterally. We could certainly feed into the international forum.
On the other hand, if the UK is no longer part of the EU, then it will be outside the control of the EU laws that harmonise greyhound exports. It adds a complication with regard to the amendment. If the Deputies bring the amendment forward again I suggest they look again at the drafting to reflect on Brexit. With Brexit the UK will become a third country and we will have to look at how this will pan out with the final arrangements post Brexit.
I have said that we cannot accept the amendment currently but I accept the motives behind it. We ask that the International Greyhound Forum is used as the platform to try to monitor the situation and then we will see if we can bring in the EU laws, while being mindful of the UK not being part of the European Union.
Bobby Aylward, Maria Bailey, Colm Brophy, James Browne, Richard Bruton, Peter Burke, Mary Butler, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Seán Canney, Ciarán Cannon, Joe Carey, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Pat Deering, Stephen Donnelly, Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Damien English, Alan Farrell, Simon Harris, Martin Heydon, Paul Kehoe, Seán Kyne, Josepha Madigan, Tony McLoughlin, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Michael Moynihan, Eoghan Murphy, Hildegarde Naughton, Tom Neville, Michael Noonan, Kate O'Connell, Fergus O'Dowd, Fiona O'Loughlin, John Paul Phelan, Noel Rock, Shane Ross, Eamon Scanlon, Niamh Smyth, David Stanton, Katherine Zappone.
I move amendment No. 2:
In page 12, between lines 24 and 25, to insert the following:
"(a) one or more shall be a representative of authorised private greyhound tracks,".
At the outset, I want to declare that I am a director of one of the six private tracks. The board has scarce resources. It is important that during discussions on allocations for Sports International Services, SIS, meetings and grants the six private tracks have a voice at the table. For the last three terms, there has been a representative of the private tracks on the board. This has worked well for the six private tracks which always feel they are on the hind tit as regards the allocation of funding from the board. To ensure fairness, they must be represented on the board. They believe that it ensures the executive of the board looks on them more favourably. These private tracks are spread throughout rural Ireland. It is essential they are represented on the board. Under this Bill, the membership of the board is increasing in size from six to eight. It is reasonable to request that one of those members would be a representative of the private tracks. The amendment is reasonable and fair and, if accepted, will ensure there is a level playing field for all tracks in the country during discussions on the allocation of resources, including SIS meeting allocations and grant payments. It is only right and proper that all tracks would have an equal voice at the table.
I propose to address amendments Nos. 2 to 4, inclusive, together. Indecon consultants were commissioned in 2014 by the then Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Simon Coveney, to carry out a review of certain matters relating to Bord na gCon. At the time Bord na gCon had debts amounting to €23 million, largely due to its investment in Limerick Stadium. This debt burden has hindered the development of the industry.
One of the aspects the report examined was the constitution of Bord na gCon. The Indecon report was critical of the skillset of the board and there was explicit criticism of the board's role in the Limerick stadium development and its governance. The report identified a number of skills gaps in the make-up of the board. Principal among these was the need for a depth of financial expertise, with a requirement for more than one board member with financial qualifications and senior professional experience. There was an explicit criticism that the lack of skills was a contributory factor in the decision to develop Limerick stadium without proper capital appraisal and cost-benefit analysis. Indecon stated: "Based on the analysis and documentation available to Indecon it is hard to conclude anything other than the fact that there was inadequate appraisal of the Limerick capital investment."
The report also identified the requirement for a senior legal professional, a marketing expert and a veterinary expert on the board. I brought forward a Report Stage amendment in the Seanad setting down a requirement for veterinary expertise on the board and allocated one or more places on the board to persons with detailed industry knowledge. I concluded that a requirement for at least one veterinarian was more than justified in view of the animal welfare and integrity role of the board. The latter requirement for one of the members to have detailed knowledge of the industry will, I believe, allow for some flexibility while maintaining the balance in favour of a skilled board.
I draw the attention of the Deputies to the Companies Act 2014, which for the first time codifies directors' duties, drawing together both existing statutory rules and various common law duties developed by the courts. The Companies Act places a significant burden of responsibility on the board members of rásaíocht con Éireann as directors of that company. The Act introduces, for the first time in Irish law, a list of principal fiduciary duties of the directors of an Irish company. That list of fiduciary duties includes, among others, a requirement to act in good faith and in the interests of the company and to avoid conflicts of interest.
The Indecon report also recommended a requirement for the disclosure of potential conflicts of interest by board members. Section 12 of the Bill sets out in detail the responsibilities of board members in this regard. Subsection 1 states that where there is a potential conflict the board members shall neither influence or seek to influence a decision relating to the matter, that they should take no part in any consideration of that matter, that they should withdraw from the meeting while the matter is being discussed and that they should not vote or otherwise act in relation to the matter. This board is responsible for regulating the industry and will be responsible for drafting regulations to give effect to provisions set out in this Bill. It would therefore be inappropriate for the board to be made up of representatives to whom those regulations will apply.
In view of the recent financial difficulties Bord na gCon has experienced, I believe the board must change its approach in order to avoid any danger that the mistakes of the past will be repeated. A skilled board is required to achieve this aim. Appointments to the board will be carried out through the Public Appointments Service, PAS, process, and it is of course open to any individual with the requisite skills or knowledge of the industry to put himself or herself forward for consideration.
In 2015, when I was chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, we undertook an examination of the greyhound racing sector in anticipation of the Department commencing work on a new greyhound industry Bill. The committee heard oral submissions on 20 October 2015 from the then Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Tom Hayes, Bord na gCon and from the Irish Greyhound Owners and Breeders Federation. In addition to these submissions, the committee also received written submissions from five other groupings. The aim of the committee was to publish a report to provide a brief and succinct overview of the industry in Ireland, to detail the main points raised by stakeholders and to identify recommendations arising from its overall examination of the topic. The committee published its report in January 2016. One of the key recommendations coming out of the report was that Bord na gCon should establish a stakeholder consultative forum. Acting on that recommendation, Bord na gCon established the national greyhound consultative forum, which held its first meeting in March 2016. To date eight meetings have been held. The invitees represent a broad cross-section of the industry, including representatives of owners and breeders, stud keepers, trainers, private tracks and other groups. Representatives of private tracks have been invited since its inception. Members of both the board and the executive of Bord na gCon attend each meeting and departmental officials attend at least one meeting each year. I attended in November 2016 and found the meeting very informative.
Bord na gCon believes these meetings are a useful vehicle for engaging with the wider industry and I fully support that view. I believe the national greyhound consultative forum is the appropriate mechanism for representatives of the private tracks to air their views on matters affecting them. For all of those reasons, and in particular the recommendations in the Indecon report, I am afraid I cannot accept these amendments.
I agree with the Minister of State that having a veterinary practitioner and accounting expertise on the board is to be welcomed. However, the problem that arose with the Limerick track are historical at this stage and go beyond the terms of the last two boards. I would even say they extend beyond the tenures of the last three boards. I am looking for an inclusive board where all stakeholders within the industry have a voice. That is not an unreasonable request. In the last few weeks and months we have newly appointed board members who have attachments to some of the Bord na gCon tracks. I do not object to that; it is normal. However, it is unfair that the six private tracks are to be left without representation. If they are left without representation the harsh fact is that they will be on the hind tit in terms of the allocation of grants and the allocation of extra meetings.
The private tracks have had a person on the board for as long as I can recall. The terms of the last couple of boards have been very effective. Board members have worked effectively to tackle the historical debt crisis. We are putting this Bill in place now and it is to be welcomed, but it is regrettable that we are leaving the most vulnerable tracks, namely the private tracks, without representation on the board. That is a retrograde step and means that the board will not be as inclusive as it possibly could be. While I welcome the stakeholders' forum, at the end of the day the board will make the decisions, including financial decisions, and I strongly argue that it is a mistake to leave 40% of the tracks without board representation.
The Minister of State mentioned veterinary representation and I fully accept that has to be done. The private tracks have vets on their boards. They also have accountants on their boards. Both things could be mutually compatible. It is a mistake to leave these rural tracks without representation on the board.
The Deputy at the end of his contribution said that there may well be people on the boards of private tracks who have expertise across some of the skillsets identified. However, the code still applies to those tracks. If a legal or veterinary practitioner is on the board and is also a member of a private track, those people will have to absent themselves and declare if there is a conflict of interest when issues around private tracks are discussed. My understanding is that if the discussion concerns that person's area of expertise, be it veterinary, legal or accounting, he or she can stay.
The Deputy made the point that a number of members of the board were appointed who were members of tracks. I am not so sure that is true.
Precisely. We are trying to move away from the practices of the past, as I said earlier.
The Deputy claimed that if somebody were appointed to the board, they would be then appointed to the board of a track. That is not in primary legislation and it is not intended. The Bill is primarily about governance and integrity.
No, that is not the case. Once a person is appointed to the board, he or she will no longer be a member of a subsidiary board. The Deputy referred earlier to the Limerick issue. It is said that if we forget history, we are doomed to repeat it. We have to act on the lessons learned and ensure we move on.
The board will be eight plus one. The Deputy said earlier that all stakeholders should be represented. If we do that, we will have only stakeholders and will not have the financial, banking, legal and veterinary skill sets we need on the board.
When the financial mistakes were made in Limerick, the chairman of the board was a well-recognised entrepreneur. The mistakes were at that stage when he was there. We will not agree on this. I am looking for an inclusive board. The mistakes made in Limerick were due to a lack of governance. However, that was several boards ago.
I am a board member of a private track. I know we will not have a voice at the board and will not get what we would consider a fair distribution of the resources. This will have an impact on the future of private tracks. It is regrettable that with the expanded board membership, no accommodation will be made for the private tracks.
Bobby Aylward, Mary Butler, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Stephen Donnelly, Martin Kenny, Denise Mitchell, Michael Moynihan, Fiona O'Loughlin, Éamon Ó Cuív, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Eamon Scanlon, Niamh Smyth.
Maria Bailey, Colm Brophy, Tommy Broughan, Richard Bruton, Peter Burke, Seán Canney, Ciarán Cannon, Joe Carey, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Pat Deering, Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Damien English, Alan Farrell, Simon Harris, Martin Heydon, Paul Kehoe, Seán Kyne, Josepha Madigan, Finian McGrath, Joe McHugh, Tony McLoughlin, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Hildegarde Naughton, Tom Neville, Michael Noonan, Kate O'Connell, Fergus O'Dowd, Maureen O'Sullivan, John Paul Phelan, Noel Rock, Shane Ross, David Stanton, Katherine Zappone.
I move amendment No. 5:
In page 25, between lines 13 and 14, to insert the following:
“List of countries to which export is permissible
26. (1) On 1 January 2020 and annually thereafter, the Minister shall prescribe by regulation a list of non-EU countries which meet minimum standards with regard to the welfare of greyhounds, and to which the licensed export of greyhounds from the State may be permissible.(2) In making regulations under subsection (1), consideration shall be given to the following factors—(a) the past record of the relevant country relating to the welfare of greyhounds and the welfare of animals more generally,
(b) the existence in the relevant country of enforceable welfare protections for greyhounds which are equivalent to the protections available in the State,
(c) the monitoring and enforcement in the relevant country of the welfare protections referred to in paragraph (b), and
(d) the standards of care and management to which the greyhounds are likely to be subjected to in the relevant country.”.
As fewer than ten Members have risen I declare the question is defeated. In accordance with Standing Order 72 the names of the Deputies dissenting will be recorded in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Dáil.
I move amendment No. 6:
In page 25, between lines 13 and 14, to insert the following:
"Export of Greyhounds
26.(1) It shall be an offence for a person to—(a) export,(2) It shall be an offence for a person to—
(b) attempt to export, or
(c) assist another person in the export or attempted export,
of a greyhound to a non-EU country which is not included in the white list which has been prescribed by the Minister.(a) export,(3) A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (2) is liable—
(b) attempt to export, or
(c) assist another person in the export or attempted export,
of a greyhound to a non-EU country which is included in the white list which has been prescribed by the Minister for the purpose of subsequently transferring such greyhound to a country not so included and unless that person holds an export licence which has been granted pursuant to section 31(1).(a) on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both,
(b) on conviction on indictment to a fine of €100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both.".
I move amendment No. 7:
In page 29, between lines 29 and 30, to insert the following:
"Reporting on export of greyhounds
30.The Minister, in consultation with the Board, shall produce and lay before the appropriate Joint Oireachtas Committee an annual report following the end of each calendar year, which shall include the following: (a) the number of greyhounds exported from the State in the preceding calendar year;
(b) a list of every country to which greyhounds have been exported from the State in the preceding calendar year; and
(c) the given reasons for export.".
I move amendment No. 8:
In page 30, between lines 3 and 4, to insert the following:"(2) (a) The Minister may, at his or her discretion, grant or refuse to grant a licence for the purpose of the export of a greyhound to a country which is included on the current version of the white list on such terms and conditions as may be specified in the licence.(b) The Minister may make regulations prescribing all aspects of the license application process.".
As fewer than ten Members have risen I declare the question defeated. In accordance with Standing Order 72 the names of the Deputies dissenting will be recorded in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Dáil.
I thank the Ceann Comhairle, the Leas-Cheann Comhairle and the Deputies for their contributions. I welcome that there has been such engagement on the Bill from the Members of this House and, indeed, in the Seanad beforehand, and the fact that we have progressed.
I also take the opportunity to thank my diligent officials who cannot be here for this part of the process, but they know who they are. The Bill has been in gestation for a long time and gone through pre-legislative scrutiny. When I was Chairman of the then Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture, we produced a report on foot of the Indecon report and other reports. It is fitting that the Tánaiste is present because he was the man who commissioned the Indecon report. The Bill addresses issues identified in a number of reports on the greyhound racing sector related to governance and regulation. It addresses governance issues in Bord na gCon, strengthens regulatory controls in the industry, modernises sanctions, improves integrity, includes ensuring the welfare of greyhounds as one of the statutory functions of the new Rásaíocht Con Éireann and provides it with powers to make regulations related to integrity, anti-doping measures, administration and traceability to deal with the deficits which impact on the industry. The new Bill will strengthen the greyhound racing industry by enabling it to deal with the challenges it faces and maximise its potential.
I wish everybody involved the greyhound racing sector the best of luck. We have done a good job to allow them to grow the sector, enhance its reputation and achieve its real potential.