Tuesday, 26 January 2016
Technological Universities Bill 2015: Report Stage
I thank Deputy O'Brien for his comments. My officials did brief Opposition members. I met some members of the Teachers' Union of Ireland, TUI, who expressed concerns to me. We had met them before that also. I have a number of amendments tabled that I hope address some of the issues raised by the two Opposition Deputies here in the Chamber, Deputies Jonathan O'Brien and Maureen O'Sullivan. We have no intention of restricting this debate in either the Dáil or the Seanad. It is very important legislation and we want to ensure there is sufficient parliamentary time to debate the issues.
As I outlined on Committee Stage, amendments Nos. 1, 2, 5 and 6 would insert definitions for words that are not used in the Bill, nor in any of the amendments put forward by the Deputy. For that reason, they are unnecessary. Amendment No. 4 would insert a limited definition for the word "programme", a word that is used in the Bill. However, the extensive definition of the term "programme of education and training" is referred to in the Bill by reference to that set out in the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012. Introducing an additional definition of the word "programme" would, therefore, introduce uncertainty. That is the reason I cannot accept the amendments.