Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Bill 2011

29th May, 2012

The Dormant Accounts Bill came before the House recently and I availed of the opportunity to make some points on the draft Bill. I began by welcoming the legislation and the reduction of a state agency via amalgamating their work with a Government Department. This was an important element of Fine Gael policy at election time.

The bill proposes the abolition of the Dormant Accounts Board whereby its responsibilities will be subsumed back into the Department of the Environment. A positive proposal included in the Bill is the requirement on future Ministers of the Environment to prepare annual Action Plans outlining the areas upon which funds will be spent. Over the years, I have seen first-hand the huge benefit this source of funding has provided to groups, clubs and societies across Dublin Central.

In discussing the Bill, I made two other points relating to whether dormant accounts in Credit Unions might be considered as contributing sources in the future and the need for a Statutory Instrument to be put in place as part of the legislation to allow future Ministers of the Environment to examine what other sources of funds of wealth could be used as potential contributors to the fund as well. Committee stage of the Bill will be taken in the coming weeks. The latter could remove the need for the Minister to continue to implement new primary legislation in response to new sources of dormant accounts.