Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Electricity Regulation (Amendment) (Single Electricity Market) Bill 2006: Report and Final Stages.
I did not believe we would be finished as expeditiously as this. I thank the Minister, Deputy Noel Dempsey, and the Minister of State, Deputy John Browne, for their attendance on Second and Subsequent Stages. I also thank the officials for the help and support they gave us during the passage of this Bill.
Speakers on all sides were in general agreement with the contents of the Bill on Second Stage, so perhaps it is not a huge surprise that no amendments were tabled on Committee Stage. I am glad we have been able to get this legislation out of the way. Again, I thank everybody involved and the Opposition spokespersons for their co-operation in the passage of the Bill.
I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy John Browne, and his officials. I thank Senator Kenneally for his remarks. We are agreeable people. My party is very supportive of the Bill because it regards it as a unique example of North-South co-operation which will be of benefit to both parts of the island. The all-Ireland market will be of benefit and the economies of scale which should apply will assist both sides. For those reasons, and all those I am sure my colleague, Senator Finucane, spelled out on Second Stage, I am happy to see the Bill pass.
I, too, welcome the Minister of State and thank him and his officials for their work on this important legislation. The fact we have not tabled amendments or there is no disagreement on it does not lessen the importance or significance of this Bill. We are all at one in wanting to see the implementation of this important legislation. I wish the Minister of State and the Department well in its implementation.
I thank the Leas-Chathaoirleach and Senators on all sides for the speedy progression of this Bill and for the well-informed debate throughout the process. It has been recognised by all sides which have contributed to the debate that this is historic and ground-breaking legislation in terms of North South co-operation. The enactment of this legislation will underpin the establishment of a complete single wholesale electricity market on the island of Ireland to the benefit of consumers and enterprise North and South. I thank my officials for their work on preparing the Bill, for the different amendments and for their support to the Minister and myself.