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Government Appeal of European Commission Decision on State Aid to Apple: Motion (7 Sep 2016)

Leo Varadkar: I thank the Acting Chairman for the opportunity to speak on this important issue. I only have a few minutes and I am not going to repeat what others have said, but I want to make three important points. First, I strongly support the Government's decision to appeal the Commission's ruling. The decision of the European Commission essentially asks us to become a global tax collector for the...

Topical Issue Debate: Poverty Data (5 Jul 2016)

Leo Varadkar: There is also the whole issue of transfers. If one compares us with other European countries, some of which are more equal than us, we do pretty well on transfers. Our welfare payments are higher than they are in Northern Ireland, in Britain or in many other countries that have higher Gini scores than us. Where we are really falling down is on services - people on very low incomes having...

Topical Issue Debate: Poverty Data (5 Jul 2016)

Leo Varadkar: I thank the Deputies for submitting the subject of poverty as a Topical Issue debate. Tackling poverty continues to be a priority for the Government. It is important to point out the figures mentioned by the Deputies are from the survey on income and living conditions for 2014 and are neither new nor recent, although the report by Social Justice Ireland was published today. They relate to...

Topical Issue Debate: Poverty Data (5 Jul 2016)

Leo Varadkar: I will pick up on the points on rural poverty mentioned by Deputy McGrath. Rural poverty is clearly different from urban poverty, although both are equally problematic and need to be dealt with. There is a review of the farm assist programme, with a view to reversing some of the cutbacks from previous budgets. That may help farmers, particularly in the west, who are struggling to make ends...

Paternity Leave and Benefit Bill 2016: Financial Resolution (5 Jul 2016)

Leo Varadkar: I move:THAT the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (No. 39 of 1997) be amended in the manner and to the extent specified in the Act giving effect to this Resolution to provide for the deeming of amounts to be paid on foot of paternity benefit under the Social Welfare Acts to be deemed to be profits or gains arising or accruing from an employment and to be emoluments to which Chapter 4 of Part 42 of...

Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions: JobPath Implementation (30 Jun 2016)

Leo Varadkar: As the Deputy has pointed out, nearly 40,000 people have been referred to JobPath, of whom thousands have managed to get employment. I do not doubt that there are individuals who have had bad experiences. In some cases, this is because the engagement is a tense one. When people have been on the carousel of CE schemes, training and more CE schemes, getting one-to-one attention is a...

Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions: JobPath Implementation (30 Jun 2016)

Leo Varadkar: If the Deputy has solid or empirical evidence of creaming or cherrypicking, my officials and I would like to see and study it. To avoid cherrypicking, we have included the use of PEX scores in contracts. People are assessed by departmental officials and assigned scores based on the likelihood of their finding jobs on their own at the top of the scale to having great difficulty finding jobs...

Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions: Labour Activation Measures (30 Jun 2016)

Leo Varadkar: Participation inJobBridge was always voluntary for the person taking part and the employer.

Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions: Labour Activation Measures (30 Jun 2016)

Leo Varadkar: Something that pays the minimum wage is a job, not a scheme. There is a difference between schemes and jobs. I do not necessarily agree with the Deputy that every scheme has to have a qualification at the end of it, although I do not rule that out. However, there is a value in gaining work experience. I am not sure if the Deputy has ever participated in an unpaid internship, but there is...

Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions: Registration of Births (30 Jun 2016)

Leo Varadkar: I thank the Deputy for bringing this sensitive issue to my attention some weeks ago. As Members will be aware, I previously announced that I intended to look at the issue of the fee charged for a certificate of stillbirth registration. I am very pleased to inform the House that I have dealt with this matter quickly and that the fee for the certificate of a registration of stillbirth is...

Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions: Registration of Births (30 Jun 2016)

Leo Varadkar: Section 12 of the Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2014 provides for the provision of information on a death which occurs during the first seven days of life of a child born alive. This is known as an early neo-natal death. The section has not yet been commenced owing to industrial relations issues within the HSE. Once these issues are resolved, it is my intention to commence the section...

Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions: Registration of Births (30 Jun 2016)

Leo Varadkar: I thank the Deputy for bringing the matter to my attention and my officials and I were very happy to be able to make the change. There are approximately 240 registrations of stillbirths in Ireland every year. While waiving the fee has a small impact in terms of the loss to the HSE of some €5,000, there was no difficulty from the point of view of the Department of Health or the HSE in...

Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions: JobPath Implementation (30 Jun 2016)

Leo Varadkar: The JobPath companies Turas Nua and Seetec have considerable experience in successfully delivering employment services. They are very conscious of the challenges faced by people who have been unemployed for a long time and the need to provide suitable supports for such persons to help them back into work. Thus far, approximately 38,000 people have been referred to JobPath and the response...

Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions: Disability Activation Projects (30 Jun 2016)

Leo Varadkar: First, this programme is not yet in place; therefore, there are no plans to have private contractors involved in it because it. It is being led by a coalition of groups, including the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Arthritis Ireland, the Irish College of General Practitioners, ICGP. I believe some people, either through misinformation or wanton deliberate misinformation are trying to...

Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions: Disability Activation Projects (30 Jun 2016)

Leo Varadkar: I do not know how many times I have to say this before the Deputy might believe me but this programme does not exist yet. First, it has not even been designed yet. Second, it is not the programme that is in place in England. It is not about people who are in receipt of disability allowance or disability benefit. It is about people who have back pain who are ill and it is to make sure they...

Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions: Labour Activation Measures (30 Jun 2016)

Leo Varadkar: That may well be good advice but there are more places than Britain and this exists in European countries too.

Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions: Labour Activation Measures (30 Jun 2016)

Leo Varadkar: I propose to take Questions Nos. 11, 14, 37 and 46 together. As the members of the House will be aware, I have already announced that I plan to replace JobBridge with a more targeted scheme later this year. I believe economic and labour market conditions have changed considerably for the better since the scheme was introduced in 2011 and that the time is now right for a much more...

Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions: Labour Activation Measures (30 Jun 2016)

Leo Varadkar: If the Deputy were organising a consultation, he would only consult with people he knows will agree with him. There is a wide range of people on the Labour Market Council including, for example, Breda O'Brien from the INOU, and people from ICTU. If someone is serious about a consultation, he or she does not just consult the people whom he or she believes are ideologically aligned with him...

Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions: Labour Activation Measures (30 Jun 2016)

Leo Varadkar: It is important to remember where JobBridge came from. It arose at a time when people with good qualifications could not get employment and employers could not afford to take people on. We are now in a different space. Employers can afford to take people on, and they should. They certainly should not rely on the State to meet their labour costs. It also arose at a time when there was an...

Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions: Anti-Poverty Strategy (30 Jun 2016)

Leo Varadkar: The national action plan for social inclusion 2007 to 2016, NAPinclusion, identifies a wide range of targeted actions and interventions to achieve the overall objective of reducing poverty. It was published in February 2007. The plan adopts a life cycle stage approach with goals set for each life cycle group: children, people of working age, older people, people with disabilities and...

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