Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017: From the Seanad
Deputy Brady is right. The Minister did raise some issues on Report Stage about the fact that this had come in on Report Stage rather Committee Stage. I put forward an amendment on Committee Stage that only provided for a code of practice. It did not provide for legislative protection. The committee took the view that this was not strong enough and I agreed. This is why the amendment came in late on Report Stage.
To make my position perfectly clear, I do not want to support a proposal to withdraw my amendment. It was my amendment on which I did a lot of work and into which I put a lot of time. I thank Deputies Boyd Barrett, Bríd Smith and Brady for acknowledging that it is perfectly good legislation. If there are any amendments to be made, they will be pretty minor because I have thought about it, worked on it long and hard and taken a lot of advice on it.
Deputy Coppinger said there is no reason to delay, and perhaps she is right, but all I know is that I was told that if I did not agree to this being taken out in the Seanad, the Bill would be delayed. I had a visit from a delegation from ICTU that reiterated that the Bill would be delayed if I insisted on my amendment going forward. I received correspondence from a number of trade unions. I also had correspondence from ICTU which put it in writing subsequent to our meeting. I had a number of representations from individual workers. In that spirit, I agreed not to oppose the Government in respect of taking out the amendment but it was on the basis that it would come forward quickly with its own legislation. I want to make it clear that I have taken that section out and submitted it to the Office of the Ceann Comhairle as stand-alone legislation. I hope the Government will progress it quickly and that it will be supported by all sides of the House. When it goes to Second Stage, I sincerely hope that unlike other legislation I have brought forward here that was debated on Second Stage, it does not disappear into the Bermuda Triangle but will be taken on board and progressed. I look for an assurance from the Minister that she will co-operate in this regard.