I wish to share time with Deputy Dooley.
As Vice Chairman of the Joint Committee on European Scrutiny, I welcome this opportunity for Members to discuss the findings of the recently published special report on the enhanced role for national parliaments in the Lisbon reform treaty. I also wish to take this opportunity to compliment the Chairman, Deputy Perry, other members and officials of the joint committee on the work they did to deliver this timely and informative report.
The challenges facing Irish jobs, the environment and Ireland’s competitiveness today are global. Against climate change, rising energy costs, transnational crime and global economic downturns, our capacity to defend our interests on our own is minimal. Ireland’s sovereignty, power and strength lie in the capacity to act for its people, to defend its prosperity, safeguard its environment and protect the jobs and livelihoods that families have worked so hard to build. That capacity to act, though minimal on our own, is enhanced extraordinarily through the unique partnership that is the European Union. This ensures access to the Single Market, practical co-operation and greater clout on the world stage.
Psychological Service: Motion (Resumed)
I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this debate and to highlight the record-breaking investment the Government and previous Fianna Fáil-led Administrations have made, and will continue to make, in the area of education.
Motor Vehicle (Duties and Licences) Bill 2008: Second Stage (Resumed) 26 Feb 2008
I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak on the Motor Vehicle (Duties and Licences) Bill. I congratulate the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Gormley, on the initiative he is taking in bringing about changes to the VRT regulations for greener and more fuel-efficient cars. His initiative will, over time, bring about a considerable change in the attitude of the public towards energy efficient motoring and eventually will have a similar impact, but on a much larger scale, to the plastic bag levy introduced by his predecessor as Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government a number of years ago. However, the proposed VRT changes contain a number of anomalies which I hope the Minister will consider before finalising his proposals.
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