Thursday, 20 December 2018
Greyhound Racing Bill 2018: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage
On amendments Nos. 31 and 32 in regard to the length of each term and the maximum number of terms a member of the control committee may serve, as I stated on Committee Stage, the standard practice and in compliance with codes of governance is for committee members to serve two terms. During pre-legislative scrutiny, the joint committee recognised that it may be difficult to find sufficient people with the right skill set who are willing to serve on the control committee and, for that reason, did not question the fact that they would serve two terms. It additionally advised that the three-year term as proposed at the time of the general scheme of the Bill should be revised upwards to a four-year term. In these circumstances, I do not intend to accept the Senators' amendment.
On amendment No. 33 and the suggestion that control committee members be required to step down immediately, the argument is the same as that which pertains to the main board of Rásaíocht Con Éireann. The provision is a safeguarding one and is a standard one in modern law. In the case of the new statutory control committee, having the ability to stagger the stepping down of committee members will be very important as the eight members of the panel will have been appointed at the same time. Under Senator Ó Domhnaill’s proposal, all eight would be required to step down on the same day without any regard to continuity. If the amendment was to be passed, the eight control committee members would be replaceden masseon the third anniversary of their appointment. The three amendments are unworkable and I do not intend to accept them. A panel is recruited through the Public Appointments Service and it is expected that although technically the members' time will expire simultaneously, the appointments would in practice be staggered such that it would not be a matter of all eight members leaving at once and certainly not of all eight staying.
Amendments Nos. 34 and 35 relate to conflict of interest which is dealt with comprehensively in section 12 of the Bill. Although section 12 regarding disclosure of interest already makes clear that it applies to all members of the board, its committees and subsidiaries as well as the control committee and the appeal committee, I propose the insertion of the wording in my amendment to address the concerns of Senator Ó Domhnaill. If the amendment is accepted, section 44(15) would include specific reference to members of the control committee being subject to the requirements set down in section 12 which is all-embracing in regard to disclosure of interests. Appointments to the central control committee will be made by the Minister and managed through the Public Appointments Service selection process.