Friday, 9 December 2011
Order of Business
The Order of Business is No. 9, motion re appointment of members of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, back from committee; and No. a4, Social Welfare Bill 2011 - Second Stage (Resumed) and Subsequent Stages.
It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that No. 9 shall be decided without debate and that the following arrangements will apply in respect of No. a4: the proceedings on the resumed Second Stage will, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 1.30 p.m.; the proceedings on Committee and Remaining Stages will commence immediately at the conclusion of Second Stage and, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 3.30 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair and shall, in respect of amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Social Protection.
How can the Government have it said in Europe that the people have agreed to a set of proposals that gave away our sovereignty, when there has not even been a discussion on these measures in the House? It is outrageous.
In addition, a new procedure saw the Taoiseach attend the House last week to set out what was to be discussed by the European Council. We have made arrangements for him to revert to the House when it reconvenes next week to give a report on what was discussed at the European summit.
There are issues with family income supplement, disability allowances and community employment schemes. No doubt the Government will be told that, for some arbitrary reason, the Dáil must pass the Bill today. It will affect people's lives next year. Some will lose hundreds of euro thanks to the decisions that will be rammed through the House today. I received an e-mail from a woman this morning-----
From the bottom of my heart, I ask the Tánaiste to put politics aside, allow Second Stage to continue until 3.30 p.m. and a detailed debate to take place next week on the Bill's serious provisions which will hurt people badly. The Government should give itself time to reflect on and amend some of the proposals made. Some of the measures proposed will not save significant amounts of money. It is impossible-----
We have not even dealt with the manner in which the Government proposes to devastate community employment schemes across the State. Job creation, how are you? I object to the manner in which the Bill is being processed through the House and the indecent haste with which the Government is prepared to butcher €800 million from the social welfare bill.
I oppose the guillotining of the debate on the Social Welfare Bill.
This time last year, as the Minister for Finance, Deputy Lenihan, unveiled his budget, screams of anguish reverberated through the corridors of Leinster House. The Labour Party's finance spokesman Deputy Burton was feeling the pain of the poor, the lone parents and, especially, the women of Ireland.
Let us remember child benefit is paid almost universally to women. I suppose that is a comment on how few women are Members of this House and what little power women exercise compared to bankers.
This day, in an extraordinary transformation, the same Deputy Burton is now the tormentor of the women and children of Ireland.
We need, therefore, far more time for Deputy Burton, now Minister for - allegedly - Social Protection, to come into the Dáil and explain the extraordinary transformation and to do so section by section. She must think that along with her pain, a general anaesthetic should be administered to the same women and children whose state she bewailed last year.
This is a serious issue and the Tánaiste knows it. People are reeling with shock; lone parents, low income families and the elderly are reeling from the attacks meted out in this Bill. The very least they deserve is that the full implications of the attacks on their living standings are explained, particularly the Government's commitment to labour activation measures designed to get people back to work, when it is absolutely clear that, particularly for lone parents, these measures are a direct disincentive to work.
They will drive lone parents out of work and back into poverty.
These serious implications deserve to be discussed in detail and not rammed through in this way by a Government that promised a new type of politics and a new type of openness and transparency. These austerity measures are being rammed through in an unfair and undemocratic way.
The Government is providing more time for the debate on the Social Welfare Bill. There is 50% more time being provided for the debate on the Social Welfare Bill this year than was provided last year.
Deputies cannot come in here today and argue for more time when yesterday they voted against the extra day's sitting the Government is providing for this Bill, today's sitting. This is the extra day's sitting.
A huge amount of time is being provided for the debate. The Bill will go to the Seanad next week and if the Seanad makes amendments, it will come back into the Dáil and there is plenty of time. I ask Members for accuracy in the debate.
The amount of money being provided for employment support measures through the Department of Social Protection in 2012 is almost €100 million more than was provided last year.
The Dail Divided:
For the motion: 77 (James Bannon, Tom Barry, Pat Breen, Tommy Broughan, Richard Bruton, Joan Burton, Ray Butler, Jerry Buttimer, Catherine Byrne, Eric Byrne, Joe Carey, Áine Collins, Michael Conaghan, Seán Conlan, Paul Connaughton, Ciara Conway, Noel Coonan, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Michael Creed, Jim Daly, Jimmy Deenihan, Pat Deering, Regina Doherty, Paschal Donohoe, Robert Dowds, Bernard Durkan, Damien English, Frank Feighan, Anne Ferris, Peter Fitzpatrick, Charles Flanagan, Eamon Gilmore, Brendan Griffin, Dominic Hannigan, Brian Hayes, Tom Hayes, Martin Heydon, Brendan Howlin, Heather Humphreys, Kevin Humphreys, Colm Keaveney, Paul Kehoe, Alan Kelly, Seán Kenny, Seán Kyne, Anthony Lawlor, John Lyons, Shane McEntee, Nicky McFadden, Dinny McGinley, Joe McHugh, Tony McLoughlin, Michael McNamara, Peter Mathews, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Olivia Mitchell, Michelle Mulherin, Eoghan Murphy, Gerald Nash, Dan Neville, Derek Nolan, Michael Noonan, Patrick Nulty, Kieran O'Donnell, Patrick O'Donovan, John O'Mahony, Ann Phelan, Ruairi Quinn, James Reilly, Michael Ring, Brendan Ryan, Seán Sherlock, Róisín Shortall, Emmet Stagg, Joanna Tuffy, Jack Wall, Alex White)
Against the motion: 36 (Richard Boyd Barrett, John Browne, Dara Calleary, Joan Collins, Michael Colreavy, Barry Cowen, Seán Crowe, Clare Daly, Timmy Dooley, Dessie Ellis, Martin Ferris, Tom Fleming, Noel Grealish, John Halligan, Séamus Healy, Michael Healy-Rae, Joe Higgins, Billy Kelleher, Michael Kitt, Mary Lou McDonald, Finian McGrath, Mattie McGrath, Sandra McLellan, Michael Moynihan, Catherine Murphy, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Éamon Ó Cuív, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Jonathan O'Brien, Maureen O'Sullivan, Thomas Pringle, Brendan Smith, Peadar Tóibín, Robert Troy, Mick Wallace)
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Seán Ó Fearghaíl.
Question again declared carried.