Statement clarifying NMAI position on picket of Aviation Hou

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Raven 912
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Statement clarifying NMAI position on picket of Aviation Hou

Post by Raven 912 »

Being willing to compromise is clearly appropriate in most circumstances. We recognise that many people, especially outside of microlighting, think that “a compromise” is a good idea when it comes to microlight licensing and training in Ireland.

When pilot observers outside of the NMAI suggest that we should “compromise” with the IAA this invariably means that they do not understand what is going on in Ireland and how unfavourably it compares to other European countries. Instead they seem to think that it only takes a willingness to compromise in order to arrive at a resolution.

However, the problem is that the behaviour and apparent objectives of the IAA are simply inconsistent with what takes place elsewhere in European recreational aviation, most notably in relation to microlights. Compromise, as some see it, would simply mean turning microlights into a “light” version of a traditional GA aircraft.

Such an outcome is unacceptable to the NMAI and the vast majority of our members - for many, many good reasons. Because of this the NMAI members attending our recent meeting in Tullamore voted unanimously to demonstrate outside Aviation House to protest at the lack of progress over the past 15 years.

The NMAI has been greatly encouraged by the response of our European colleagues when we explain our problems. We are also pleased to discover that more and more recreational pilot organisations in Ireland are now stating clearly that they have similar difficulties with the IAA, whatever their type of sport aviation.

It is therefore important to be clear about what is going on. We are fighting to preserve the low cost and easy access to recreational aviation that has been a fundamental part of microlighting since its birth. We are fighting to avoid the continuing growth of non-compliance with regulations. We are fighting to create a context within which regulatory compliant pilots will be able to fly in the same manner as our European colleagues. We are fighting to improve microlight training so that we can achieve what our European colleagues have achieved.

The NMAI does not agree that the problems - which have now lasted for around 15 years - is an unwillingness to compromise on our part. The real problem is rather a lack of basic understanding, genuine dialogue, good faith and mutual respect between the parties.

During our demonstration outside Aviation House on Monday last (March 15th) the IAA issued a Press Release that demonstrates how our discussions and letters over many years have taken place in a context where the Authority had apparently decided, without telling anyone, that the approach of other European countries is simply unacceptable to them. Simple as that.

The NMAI does not think that lack of a will to compromise is the fundamental problem here. Something, or someone, else is causing the problems.

In the meantime, does anyone really believe that the motivation of the IAA for the positions they adopt towards recreational pilots is really driven by safety considerations - as they claim in their Press Release? What is it about the IAA that puts them uniquely in a position to reach radically different safety and licensing conclusions from countries such as the U.S., Canada, Australia and all other European countries? In reality the IAA has an Agenda all of its own.

Their Agenda can be seen by simply reading their Press Release of March 15th in which they tell us that ALL Irish licences have to meet the requirements of ICAO Annex I, even where the ICAO Annexes do not require this (as is the case with microlights). Why would the IAA adopt such a course of action? That is the real question. The IAA has not been providing much in the way of explanations for its position, and they are not likely to change.

The IAA Press Release is available in the following post for you to read. We suggest you read it carefully and reach your own conclusions about the claims made by the IAA, including the bizarre notions that the licence issued by the UK CAA is in some way inferior to an Irish licence and that the accident to which they refer is unrelated to our current problems!

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Re: Statement clarifying NMAI position on picket of Aviation Hou

Post by Raven 912 »

IAA Press Release of 15/03/10

One of the primary functions of the Irish Aviation Authority is the safe conduct of all aircraft operations. Within that function is a responsibility to ensure the safety of persons on the ground, who have no influence or input into a decision by a person to get into an aircraft and fly. People on the ground can be affected by that decision in the event of an accident causing serious injury to them or their property.

This is a major consideration when issuing licences to private pilots seeking to fly for leisure purposes.
All licences currently offered by the Irish Aviation Authority are issued in accordance with the guidelines set out in the International Civil Aviation Authority, Standards and Recommended Practices contained in International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex I - Personnel Licensing.

The National Licence issued by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority is not issued on the same basis as it does not require the holder to meet the ICAO minima with regard to flying hours completed, medical requirements or radio telephony.

The Irish Aviation Authority does offer a facility to Non-Irish licence holders to validate their licences for use within Irish airspace. A similar facility is not offered by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority.
On the basis of recent safety analysis The Irish Aviation Authority is conducting a review of the current requirements for the award of a Private Pilot Licence (Microlight) with a view to possibly reducing the minimum requirements. This has included consultation with the National Microlight Association of Ireland and other interested stakeholders and a "Request for Comment" document was posted on the Authority's website on Friday, 5 February 2010. The closing date for this phase of the review was Monday, 8 March 2010 and the Authority is currently studying the responses that were submitted with a view to publishing the outcome on Friday, 16 April 2010.

With regard to the Safety Recommendation issued by the Air Accident Investigation Unit following an accident involving a microlight aircraft, the Irish Aviation Authority as the statutory body charged with regulatory oversight of aircraft operations within the State is the only body required to respond to the Safety Recommendation. This has partly been addressed by the review of microlight policy as detailed in the preceding paragraph.

It must be pointed out, however, that the accident involved a pilot electing to fly a microlight aircraft without holding any licence or having completed the necessary training. Additionally, the aircraft, which was not registered in the State, was flown by the pilot without obtaining the relevant certification of its fitness to fly either from the Irish Aviation Authority or the State of Registration.

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Re: Statement clarifying NMAI position on picket of Aviation Hou

Post by Pilot »

Out of curousity what are the current requirements to get a microlight licence/rating in Ireland with the IAA?

If you get that, will that licence be recognised in other countries (if so is that under ICAO, or by agreement?)

What exactly are the NMAI asking of the IAA? I've gathered that you're all very annoyed with them, and that you're not happy that UK NPPL(M)'s aren't recognised here, but I haven't really understood what exactly you are looking for.

Presumably you are asking that UK NPPL(M) is recognised on a simpler basis, and looking for a lighter training regieme in the Republic, but would be interested to know what specifics you are looking for. That doesn't seem to have been put into the public media.

I hope you manage to find a reasonable solution.

Thanks
P

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Re: Statement clarifying NMAI position on picket of Aviation Hou

Post by jm2833530 »

As I understand it, the ICAO PPL licence is more or less the accepted standard for international travel, even allowing for the tortuous exceptions of using aircraft registered in a country different to the licence country.

When compared with the easy acceptance of motor vehicles and motor licences internationally, there is hardly any excuse for this state of affairs.

A microlight licence, being a bit below PPL standard, will naturally come under the scrutiny of the National Regulator of another Country - they may or may not in their wisdom, find such a licence to be of an acceptable standard.

Many precedents exist throughout Europe, of countries validating or accepting the Microlight qualification of another country. Therefore I see a gradual de facto acceptance of the microlight licence (in a microlight) as equivalent in privilege to a PPL licence in a GA aircraft, under VFR only. It is as desirable as it is unlikely that the Chicago Convention gets altered to the reality of LSAs and microlights, whose capabilities exceed many GA aircraft. That will create a plethora of bilateral arrangements which only can lead to silly pitfalls which only benefit those wanting to cause a worthless fuss over little or nothing. What accidents can be attributed to significant licencing requirements? Precious few is my guess.

Our esteemed IAA have not given any reason good bad or indifferent why they fail to issue national licences for microlight that are are in certain ways inferior to ICAO PPL. Or if they do, they contradict their press release by so doing.

All higher licences should be deemed acceptable for lesser classes of aircraft, in some cases with an endorsement from an instructor. And all licences including microlight licences, from Countries in the Chicago Convention should be similarly accepted. Ther may be a case to have an international travel endorsement on the national microlight licence.

The Regulators may need assurance from their governments thay will not be held liable in the event this policy is shown defective by reference to accident stats. I think that is what is holding them back, they have nothing to gain from relaxing the rules once they have reason to fear censure for good faith decisions gone bad, or with even the remotest possibility of that happening. People love their job security, and need encouragement to take balanced risks in the interest of the flying public. Regulation is a concept more aligned with masters than with servants. The Civil Service mentality needs constant reminding of that fact.

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Re: Statement clarifying NMAI position on picket of Aviation Hou

Post by falco »

Hi jm2833530. I think you are not completely correct in what you say, though I do think you have got the “gist of it”. Here are some points I would make:

1. IF a PPL meets the requirements of ICAO Annex 1 then all other countries are obliged to accept that licence. By accepting ICAO (and Annex 1) each country commits to accepting each others PPLs.

2. Microlights do not fall within the scope of Annex 1 and there are no similar “rules” or “agreements” which apply anywhere in the world (except Europe).

3. As I understand it, in Europe it has been agreed that the microlight licence of other European countries should be automatically accepted. The exception is Ireland. (This explains the statement issued last weekend by the European Microlight Federation - I think it is somewhere on this or the NMAI site).

4. The argument for this seems to be exactly the same as that in ICAO for the PPL, which is that the fuss, bother and inconvenience of examining each individual licence/case is disproportionate to the small differences that are involved – leading to this kind of thinking: “if they can fly safely and be licensed in Germany, why should we assume they become dangerous because they fly in Spain or Italy?”. Leading to this “So why not just let them fly away, given the low mass and relatively low risk involved in microlights?”. And behind this - "Because it is not our job to introduce artificial barriers to free movement".

5. That’s where Europe has got to, but Ireland has not.

6. The IAA is the Irish safety regulator. They are THE Authority. For this reason the do not need to “ask” the government. In fact, it is almost certain that the IAA is acting in a way that is contrary to established Irish government policy regarding free movement across borders and the reduction of blockages to free movement within the European Community. Irish pilots flying in N. Ireland should be free to fly here (and vice versa) just as do the Belgian, Luxembourg, French, German and Dutch pilot who - as I type - will freely move from country to country by microlight throughout this very day (normally without even being required to contact anybody for permission). This is not a fantasy, it is a fact.

That is how I understand what is going on.
Last edited by falco on Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Statement clarifying NMAI position on picket of Aviation Hou

Post by hedgehopper »

And to add meat to the bones of the last post ,

1) could someone post a list of what european countrys accept the uk nppl (m) (which most irish microlight pilots have) without validation and under the 28 day exemption rule and what european countrys dont.
2) whats the average minium training hours required for a microlight licence in european countrys compaired to the irish system of training .

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Re: Statement clarifying NMAI position on picket of Aviation Hou

Post by Pilot »

And can someone please explain what the current Irish system is? Does it lead to an ICAO licence that is automatically recognised in other countries?

Is it just mutual recognation that is the issue, or is it the training requirement in Ireland too?

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Re: Statement clarifying NMAI position on picket of Aviation Hou

Post by falco »

Hi pilot. It would be impossible to respond to all of the detailed questions that everyone has. You could write all day about this stuff and all you would do is cause confusion. However, I do think that someone from the NMAI should post the relevant information on the NMAI website somewhere on this site along with other letters/documents that might help people understand some of the basic issues. The reason I say this is that the problems faced by the NMAI are typical of problems faced by others in recreational aviation and they might recognise the parallels with what is taking place here. That interests me a lot!!

May I suggest that you avoid the detail (or at least talk to someone on the NMAI committee) about detailed questions? Instead, just look at the "big" issues. In my post above I point out that microlights are not covered by ICAO Annex 1. However the IAA, for their purposes treat microlights as if they were Annex 1 "flying things" (but not as aircraft - since that would grant a full PPL). But no other Authority does this. For this reason the issue of "recognition" under Annex 1 does not arise. We are in a unique Irish "limbo" here.

The BIG problem is not with the recognition of Irish licences, but the fact that if you do a microlight licence elsewhere, or if a visitor comes to Ireland, the IAA treat you as some kind of dangerous beast that brings danger to every Irish citizen. They add layer upon layer of requirements (quoting Annex 1) that are expensive and difficult to achieve. For example your U.K. microlight medical is not good enough, so you have to do an IAA (PPL) medical; if there is any medical "issue" you can have many months of delay and very high costs - even as you continue to fly in the U.K. or N.I.

Some of the requirements - e.g. minimum acceptable hours under instruction prior to the issue of the "foreign" microlight licence - have led to the ridiculous situation where highly experienced pilots (which could include instructors) would be required to get more "instruction" to increase their "P3 hours" to the minimum specified by the IAA and/or have to first see an "acceptable" Irish instructor to demonstrate their competence.

I think you can now see why the IAA position is controversial. Meanwhile, other European countries accept microlight licences issued elswhere in Europe (including Ireland).

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Re: Statement clarifying NMAI position on picket of Aviation Hou

Post by Raven 912 »

Below is a copy of the text contained in the EMF statement which can be found at www.emf.aero

The EMF greatly regrets that no microlight pilot licensed by another
European country is permitted to fly in Ireland. Ireland is thus unique
among the 25 European countries that have agreed to the mutual
recognition of more than 40,000 European microlight pilot licences.

Only Ireland has a licence “validation” process that adds requirements
which differ significantly from those used in other countries. In practice this
makes it impossible for most pilots in other countries to even consider flying
to/in Ireland.

The EMF notes that the Irish position is completely inconsistent with the
goal of reducing boundaries within Europe. Our common objective should
be to remove constraints that prevent free movement across national
borders. The EMF calls upon the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) to engage
constructively with the NMAI to address these matters on behalf of all
European pilots.

Note: This statement was issued during the course of the EMF Working Meeting held in
Dublin (March 13th & 14th 2010).

There would appear to be some confusion within the Irish GA community as to what the issues are for microlight pilots and NMAI. It has taken 15 years to reach this point and could possibly take another 15 to try to explain everything on here in any detail.

To help to clarify our position further NMAI will set up an area explaining everything within the next 24 hrs and post a link on here.

In the meantime, as the question was specifically asked about the UK NPPL (M), there are no EU states that do not accept the UK NPPL (M) for visiting pilots other than Ireland.

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Re: Statement clarifying NMAI position on picket of Aviation Hou

Post by Pilot »

I don't mean to be awkward, but to say what everyone should just support you, but not willing to tell us what you are looking for, is hardly a good idea.

You at least need to be able to tell the press what your demands from the IAA are, but you don't seem to be able to willing to tell your own aviation friends. I don't understand why that is.

The only thing that I've understood is that you want foreign microlight licences to be recognised here. That seems a reasonable demand, but I suspect it's not the full story.

For example, you keep saying that microlight licences are recognised all over Europe. However looking on the EMF federation website linked to above, they have a document entitled "MLA flying in Europe".
From the first page it says:
The Certificate of Airworthiness for MLA aeroplanes and the Microlight pilot licence are national documents and will only be valid in your own country. So in order to cross borders flying in a MLA you will need permission to enter and to fly in a foreign country that requires such.
[...]
It is true that MLA pilots successfully come and go in many countries without the proper permissions. However, there is always a chance that, in the event of an incident/accident, the national law enforcement authority or/and your own insurance company may see things quite differently. So it is a false sense of security to think you can fly abroad without the proper Permits to Fly.

They then go on to list all the European countries. Of the ones listed, it would seem (and I'm only reading from the document) that about half of the countries require permission, and half don't require any permission. This seems to be at odds with what has been stated on these forums. What's the real story?

I'm now purely into the area of speculation (because there is so little information coming out of the NMAI that’s all I can do), but I'm guessing that a big part of the issue from the IAA's point of view is that they have a more rigorous training regime. Perhaps it's unnecessarily rigorous, I don't know because despite asking here, no one seems willing to say what it is, and what's wrong with it. I’m guessing that the IAA know that if they automatically recognise UK licences, then Irish pilots will go to the UK, train there, and come back and effectively bypass the Irish training system.

I would very much like to support the NMAI, and believe that we should all stick together. The Irish aviation sector is too small for us all to be split into different groups, and we’ll only achieve a better system if we can all stick together. But why is nobody willing to explain what the real issue are? Asking me to go to a committee member to find out what the real issues are is a bit much. You can’t expect every pilot in the country, and any journalists that you wish to bring on board, to go to a committee member. Why not just publish the salient points that are causing the issue, and how you want them resolved?

Is that really so unreasonable? If some non-aviation friend asked me tomorrow to explain what the issues where and why pilots were protesting outside the IAA, I would not be able to explain it to them at present.

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Re: Statement clarifying NMAI position on picket of Aviation Hou

Post by Raven 912 »

Hi Pilot

You are not being awkward at all and the points you make illustrate the level of confusion that is out there very well. We are currently designing an area which will include all previous corespondence, press releases, statements etc in an order which we believe will paint a clear picture.

We will then answer any questions which may arise. NMAI have absolutely no issues in providing information or answering any questions. However, with the sheer volume of corespondence and information amassed over the past 15 years, to answer every question now would probably just lead to more questions being generated. This could be very time consuming and may not have the desired effect of clearing up the confusion, which we are anxious to do.

We will post a link to this area shortly. I'm not sure who is directing you to only committee members but we would certainly be in a better position to answer any questions as we deal closely with the issues on a daily basis.

We are certainly not trying to with hold any information or avoid your questions. All we are asking is that you take a look at the page when it is put on line as it will probably answer most of the questions you have.

You do make a valid point in that if the Authority accept the UK licence then pilots may by-pass the Irish schools. NMAI find that unacceptable too and one of the things we are looking for is a training system which is either compatible or equivilent to the UK, based on accident data already provided to the IAA, to remove the desire of pilots to go elsewhere for training.

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Re: Statement clarifying NMAI position on picket of Aviation Hou

Post by falco »

Hi Pilot,

I replied to you above and suggested that this should be kept simple because most people just find it difficult to follow the detail (and few have the interest for obvious reasons).
The only thing that I've understood is that you want foreign microlight licences to be recognised here.
Well that is just it. All other countries in Europe accept the microlight licences of the other countries. The issue is simple and is easy to understand. There is no more to it. The fact of Ireland taking a completely exceptional and different approach is the real issue. You now say:
That seems a reasonable demand, but I suspect it's not the full story.
Actually readers were meant to ponder a bit about why Ireland was so different. These facts are a hint that all is not quite as the IAA claims it to be. (The IAA have adopted a different “higher” set of requirements, but have not justified them).

However, you have now gone off and done some research and now we have the start of what is potentially a long, detailed and utterly time-consuming discussion on the currency and status of the MLA document on the EMF website.

However, if you go back and read the EMF stuff you quote, I think you will find that you are confusing a number of different items. For starters you seem to confuse licence recognition with an automatic right to cross national borders. Nothing about the acceptance of microlight licences by other countries means that local rules or regulations can be ignored. Neither can you fail to have the necessary insurance, or comply with any requirement to seek prior permission, or comply with the obligation to file a Flight Plan for an international flight, and so forth. (In practice a number of countries do not require prior permission to cross their border, but does the list of those countries make much difference to this discussion).

So before everyone gets lost here. The recognition of all microlight licences in Europe by other countries (including, believe it or not, the Irish licence) is a FACT to which there is one exception, which is Ireland. Ireland declares no other microlight pilot licence to be “acceptable”, as issued.
For example, you keep saying that microlight licences are recognised all over Europe.
Yes. And that is correct. The exception is Ireland. That is it. It is simple. It is just a piece of information. It is only used as an example because it is so simple - and YET it raises a key question - why? However, we now have several posts about it (imagine trying to deal on a bulletin board with something slightly more complicated, like the reason why Ireland demands more instructional hours for microlight pilots).

Hint: Surely the real question is “Why is Ireland different?”, or “What is the justification for the different position adopted by Ireland?

… or “To what extent do similar problems affect other forms or recreational / sports aviation”?

Would we not all love to have answers to those questions. Those of us who have been at the receiving end of a decision from the IAA which would not occur in another European country certainly want to know!

I hope that this has been of some help to you pilot.

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Re: Statement clarifying NMAI position on picket of Aviation Hou

Post by Pilot »

Hi Faclo,

Thank you very much for that. In fact it does help a lot to answer my questions!

So I have been confusing the need to get permission to enter the country with the need to get your licence validated. Makes perfect sense now.

I didn't want to ask those questions directly, in case it came across as argumentative, hence why I asked for clarification of the issues twice before posting that. But now that you've answered it, it makes perfect sense. Thank you.

The only other issue I see with the NMAI of Ireland's position is that which I suggested earlier, of 'licence shopping around'. If UK licences have a significantly lighter training regeme, but are equally recognised then it's clear that many people will go to the UK to get their licence, and bypass the Irish system. (Which they seem to have done up to now.)

I think that is a valid concern for the IAA, and I imagine that would be also how the public would see it, if they aren't told anything any different.

I think the NMAI need to deal with that obvious issue too.

Only ways are a) place restrictions on Irish residents using non Irish licences (probably not acceptable to the NMAI, but probably easy for the IAA to accept), or
b) reduce the IAA training requirements to those similar to the UK (great for the NMAI, but perhaps difficult for the IAA to accept).

I think this needs to be explained, particularly as I presume you want option b. It may be easy to justify, but I think it needs to be explained at the same time, or you leave an obvious question out there, unanswered, which undermines your case.

Again, I stress that none of this is ment to be critical of the NMAI's case. A win for microlighters is probably a win for everyone as it's clearly where aviation is going in the future, and we all share the same facilities. It's just such obvious questions which if they remain unanswered, undermine your case.

Thanks
P

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Re: Statement clarifying NMAI position on picket of Aviation Hou

Post by hedgehopper »

heres my 2 cents worth,
when i started my microlight training in ireland these were the following requirements as best as i can remember them,

minium 40 hours training
same inflexable exams as normal ppl and could only be sat every 2 months(i think )
expensive licence, exams and gst
280 mile cross country ....for a microlight crazy considering our weather.
class 2 medical (cost about €90 ?)


compare that to uk nppl (m)

minium 25 hours training
5 exams which can be done individually, it was a case of calling one of the flight schools in northern ireland and asking could i do an exam next day, no problem.
cost of licence, exams and gst very reasonable
2- 40 mile cross country
medical declaration

if you were considering flight training and you knew the uk nppl training was as safe as the irish training which is now proven and iaa now accept this , which would you choose ?

now if you worked in the iaa and thought like a business person and realised were in a resession and money is tighter and you wanted to keep flight training business in the country what would be the one obvious thing to do ? make flight training comparable to our nearest neighbour ...the uk.

and if ya wanted to be really sneeky about it you could make it as hard as possible for uk nppl holders to fly down here so they wouldnt flock up the north for common sense training, but that wouldnt make much sense either because you would then have to ban 40,000 other european microlight pilots and they wouldnt be able to fly over here and spend there hard earned money on guinness,hotel rooms and petrol for the flight home.bit of a mess really isnt it .

thats how i see it anyway.

ps. sorry in advance if all the details are not correct but im more or less in the right direction.

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Re: Statement clarifying NMAI position on picket of Aviation Hou

Post by Pilot »

Thanks Hedgehopper. That fills in a lot of the blanks ;)

I accept on face value that the UK NPPL(M) is safe. I couldn't imagine the UK CAA introducing it if it was not ;)

Incidently if the NMAI were to make some of the changes they wanted known, they might find a very broad (self interested) support from others. Eg. the infrequent exams, and cost of licences/tests are an issue for JAR PPL's too.

So the only question remaining really is, is the UK micro training stds (eg 25 hours training, medical declaration) unique in the rest of Europe, or the norm?

Thanks for explaining the differences between the two regemes. It helps a lot to understand the issues invoved.

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