Dáil debates

Thursday, 17 December 2015

12:50 pm

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

It is proposed to take No. 15, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the terms of the Framework Agreement on-----

Photo of Clare DalyClare Daly (Dublin North, United Left)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The Tony Blair Labour Party. That is what the Labour Party has been reduced to.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

We are on the Order of Business. I call the Tánaiste.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The Deputy should check out some of her own friends in England and what they got up to. Check them out.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Mday we have order please?

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

It is proposed to take No. 15, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the terms of the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation between the EU and its Member States and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam - back from committee; No. 16, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Planning and Development (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2015 - back from committee; No. 16a, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the ratification by Ireland of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage; No. 16b, motion re presentation and circulation of Revised Estimates 2016; No. 16c, technical motion re Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis; No. 16d, motion re Standing Orders 99, 111, 114A, 114B, 114C, 114D and 114E; No. 1a, Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 - amendments from the Seanad; and No. 8, Technological Universities Bill 2015 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 5.30 p.m. today and shall adjourn on the conclusion of Topical Issues which shall be taken no later than 6 p.m.; Nos. 15, 16, 16a, 16b, 16cand 16dshall be decided without debate and any division demanded on No. 16b shall be taken forthwith; that the proceedings in relation to No. 1ashall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after three hours and any amendments from the Seanad not disposed of shall be decided by one Question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments to the Seanad amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Justice and Equality; and the Dáil on its rising today shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 13 January 2016.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

There are four proposals to be put to the House today. Is the proposal for dealing with the late sitting agreed to?

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I do not agree that the Dáil should adjourn after Topical Issues. It is essential that the Government comes in, provides us with an explanation today and provides time for a debate on what the Simon Community reports this morning on the eve of Christmas, which is the shocking fact that 5,000 people are in emergency accommodation, including, scandalously, 1,500 children. What a shameful legacy the Tánaiste leaves as leader of the Labour Party as her term of government winds torturously to its end. This is what our people are enduring after five years of the Government.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Does the Deputy wish to have a debate on this issue?

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

We need an explanation from the Government about the shocking fact of homelessness and people in emergency accommodation and, in particular, why the Labour Party, which undertook to fight for those who are in this situation, has failed so dismally. If statues in this Chamber could weep, that of James Connolly, which is behind my shoulder, would shed tears of anger and indignation that any party that still dares to call itself "Labour" would preside over such an incredible situation of suffering, while handing an essential human need to developers, vulture funds and profiteering landlords.

I want the Government to account today for its failure.

1:00 pm

Photo of Ray ButlerRay Butler (Meath West, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Is the Deputy taking a pension when he goes?

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

We are having a brief discussion.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

We have discussed this issue in this House on many occasions. We promised that 1,000 voided apartments and houses, most of them in Dublin city and county, would be given to people by the end of this year. I am pleased to tell the House that the number of voided apartments and houses given to families is 3,500. In addition, local authorities, particularly in the Dublin region, including in my area and Deputy Joe Higgins’s area, have bought up to 1,000 properties in which to house families. I am delighted to say that in the past few months families are getting fine new houses built to the highest standards.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

It is not enough.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Deputy Joe Higgins, however, does not seem to be aware of this. Through the efforts of the community welfare service and the protocol with Threshold we have housed more than 5,500 families through renting and leasing arrangements.

Photo of Colm KeaveneyColm Keaveney (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

This is like Leaders' Questions.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Through the housing assistance payment and the county councils that operate it, we have this year housed more than 5,500 families. Unfortunately, many of the Dublin local authorities are not operating it.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

This is a Second Stage speech.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

They were housed already.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

We have a housing problem, but we are making serious inroads into it.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

What about the 5,000 on the streets?

Question, "That the proposal for the late sitting be agreed to," put and declared carried.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

That was just an excuse for a rant.

Photo of Ray ButlerRay Butler (Meath West, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

It is the pantomime season.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 15, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the terms of the framework agreement on comprehensive partnership and coooperation between the European Union and its member states and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, back from committee, agreed to ? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 16, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Planning and Development (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2015, back from committee, agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 16a, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the ratification by Ireland of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 16b, motion re presentation and circulation of Revised Estimates for 2016 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 16c, technical motion re Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 16d, motion re Standing Orders 99, 111, 114A, 114B, 114C, 114D and 114E, without debate, agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 1a, Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 - Amendments from the Seanad, agreed to?

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

No. This is very important legislation and the proposal is to guillotine the debate. That is the wrong thing to do. This issue has come up consistently during the term of this Government which was so critical of its predecessors for the practice of guillotining debates.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Perhaps the Deputy might send some of her party members in to debate it when it happens.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

It is important legislation.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

We would debate it if we are given time.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

There is time. The Minister of State was here on her own and there was nobody from the Deputy’s party, Fianna Fáil or the Independents here.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

There is no need for this crossfire.

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The Leas-Cheann Comhairle should create some order.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

There is a need to allow the scope and capacity to have a full and complete deliberation on the legislation.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

There has been huge progress made. The Deputy has obviously not been party to any of the discussions on the Assisted Decision-Making Capacity Bill. Members of her party have been involved. Huge progress was made by agreement.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The Government guillotined the debate.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I imagine that the time given to it is absolutely ample. In some cases this week, there has been hardly anybody present-----

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The Government should lift the guillotine.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

At times, there has been no more than one person from the Deputy’s party, while at other times nobody from the party.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

It is the same for the Labour Party.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Deputy Gerry Adams has a statement to make.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

This Bill is very important for people involved with mental health issues.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The Tánaiste should lift the guillotine.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The Sinn Féin Deputies should not try to make a political football of it.

Question, "That the proposal for dealing with No. 1a, Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 - Amendments from the Seanad, be agreed to," put and declared carried.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Is No. 4, the proposal that the Dáil on its rising today shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 13 January 2016, agreed to?

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

No. I would like clarification from the Tánaiste before this is agreed.

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The Deputy should go home.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Why is the Dáil not being brought back at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, 12 January? The provision proposed today conveniently allows the Taoiseach escape not just Leaders’ Questions on the Tuesday but also questions to the Taoiseach, perhaps one, two or three weeks before the demise of this the 31st Dáil.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

And the Deputy’s demise.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

And a lot of the Labour Party’s Members.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The leader of the Dáil and the country should be facilitating the representatives of the people-----

Photo of Mary Mitchell O'ConnorMary Mitchell O'Connor (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

This is wasting time.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

-----to answer very serious questions after the Christmas break and before a general election.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

We have missed the Deputy's questions in the past couple of months.

Photo of John DeasyJohn Deasy (Waterford, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The statues will not mind about that.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I propose an amendment to the Government’s proposal-----

Photo of Ray ButlerRay Butler (Meath West, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Is it Christmas Day?

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

-----that the Dáil shall adjourn until 2 p.m. on Tuesday, 12 January 2016.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

All for another day.

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Will Deputy Joe Higgins be here?

Photo of Mary Mitchell O'ConnorMary Mitchell O'Connor (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

This is a waste of time.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I might be in the dungeons still trying to sort out the Government’s banking problems.

Photo of Ray ButlerRay Butler (Meath West, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The Deputy will have a couple of pensions to sort them out with. How many pensions will the Deputy have when he retires? One from the European Union, one from here and where else?

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The dates have been arranged to convenience the successful completion and publication of the report of the banking inquiry. There has been general agreement on all sides of the House about the selection of that date.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Deputy Joe Higgins can do his own one.

Question, "That the amendment to proposal No. 4 be agreed to," put and declared lost.

Question, "That the proposal for the adjournment of the Dáil be agreed to," put and declared carried.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Notwithstanding the somewhat heated atmosphere in the past hour or two, I wish everybody a very happy and peaceful Christmas with their families, relatives and friends.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I thank the Tánaiste.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I also wish people a happy and prosperous new year.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The Tánaiste is awfully kind.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Many people will retire from the Dáil after the next general election, including Deputy Joe Higgins.

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

When is the general election?

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Next year will bring several changes for many people. It is appropriate that Members should have a rest and a bit of down time with their families. One of the things about being a woman Tánaiste and one of the limited number of women in this Chamber is that having more women in the House has led to a greater emphasis on family friendly policies and nothing could be as family friendly-----

Photo of Colm KeaveneyColm Keaveney (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

As a bed on the street.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

And cuts to the one-parent family allowance.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

-----for most people as Christmas. It is also a difficult time for people who have suffered bereavement or illness during the year. For Members and others throughout the country who have suffered bereavement or other loss, Christmas is a time for quite sad contemplation of the person or people who have gone. I wish everybody a happy Christmas and a very successful new year for those who will be out talking to the people of Ireland.

Next year will be the anniversary of the 1916 Rising. I refer to the opening sentence of the Proclamation-----

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

None of us will have an opportunity to speak on the Order of Business.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

-----which addresses "Irishmen and Irishwomen" and wish not just the men but particularly the women of Ireland a very successful and happy new year.

1:10 pm

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

On behalf of Fianna Fáil, I echo the Tánaiste's sentiments and wish everyone a very happy Christmas and the best of luck for 2016.

Time is tight and I know Deputies want to come in, but I want to raise two Bills with the Tánaiste, the first of which is the gambling control Bill 2015. The former Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Alan Shatter, published a Bill in July 2013 proposing to establish an office of gambling control. This is a serious issue because more than €1 billion is placed in bets annually in Ireland. It is becoming easier to place bets, as much gambling takes place online. Problem gambling can devastate families and lives. The matter needs to be dealt with and yet it has not been given the serious attention it deserves. The initial Bill of 2013 seems to have fallen by the wayside. There is a new Bill, which I understand is included in section B. I take it, therefore, that it will not be dealt with in the lifetime of this Dáil. Will the Tánaiste clarify that matter?

The Education (Admission to Schools) Bill 2015 was published last April, but it has not progressed since. It proposes important reforms to the schools' admissions policy but is listed in Schedule D. Will that Bill be debated here before the general election is called?

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I understand both Bills will be taken next year.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I also wish everybody a very happy Christmas, including the Tánaiste.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Thank you.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Notwithstanding our jousts in this Chamber and my unending frustration with her answers or lack thereof, I wish her a happy Christmas. I also wish a happy Christmas to, and thank, all the staff in the Houses of the Oireachtas for their unending patience with each and every one of us. I am sure that all the people who watch us with despair, dismay or delight - depending on their viewpoint - will probably be happy that the political season pauses for a couple of weeks and they then can look forward to the election.

I want to raise the issue of the Constitutional Convention. The Tánaiste said a lot about women but we have been waiting two and a half years for a debate that was promised on the role of women, as agreed by the Constitutional Convention. That delay is outrageous. The Taoiseach repeatedly gave a concrete commitment that we would have outstanding matters from the Constitutional Convention debated in the Dáil before the Christmas recess and yet here we are still awaiting a debate on the role of women and votes outside the State - a crucial issue in respect of Presidential elections - as well as Dáil reform, economic, social and cultural rights. Those are big issues.

The fact that we have been waiting this long is not only frustrating for Members of the Oireachtas who participated in the convention and is a lost opportunity to debate these matters but is also something of an insult to the citizens who gave their time and effort to participate in this process in good faith. I cannot for the life of me understand the inordinate delay. It is not acceptable that we will now rise for the Christmas recess with each of these issues outstanding.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

As recently as yesterday, the Taoiseach gave a commitment that there will be a full debate on the convention early in the new year session. Let us celebrate, however, the achievement of which the convention was a part, that is, the decision to have the marriage equality referendum. The people assented to it and that message went right around the world.

As it is the season of goodwill, the Deputy should not always concentrate - as she tends to do, unfortunately - on the totally negative. She should see something good occasionally in this country. Marriage equality was something very positive and good. I wish to thank all the staff, in particular.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I add my own good wishes to everybody. Guím beannachtaí na Nollag agus Ath Bhliain faoi mhaise oraibh go léir. I am sorry we are out of time on the Order of Business. We must continue to the next item.