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Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate: Early Childhood Care and Education (14 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: I thank the Ceann Comhairle for the opportunity to raise this matter. I am pleased to have been associated with the establishment of a Fine Gael policy lab, which is essentially policy research that deals with first-hand experience. In the case of childcare, we spoke to more than 2,500 providers, parents and staff in the system. The conclusion was resounding. The message was that the...

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate: Early Childhood Care and Education (14 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: I thank the Minister of State and am encouraged to hear about all that work. One thing I did not hear mentioned, and this should be the starting point, is the need to start with the well-being of children. We need to embed in any such agency what the well-being of children is and how it will be measured and monitored in order that all this activity generates an outcome, especially for...

Written Answers — Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection: Social Welfare Payments (14 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: 140. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will consider introducing some disregard in the means test for disability allowance for a person who is in a position to rent a room within their home. [50249/21]

Written Answers — Department of Justice and Equality: International Protection (14 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: 153. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she will consider the recommendations of an organisation (details supplied) in respect of the new programme for families in Afghanistan in order that the lessons from previous experiences can be applied. [50341/21]

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation: General Scheme of the Consumer Rights Bill 2021: Discussion (13 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: How, in layman's terms, will it be easier to enforce? Is it still the small claims court? Does the CCPC just take issues of public concern rather than individual complaints? An issue which keeps coming up is the difficulty of contacting some of these providers. With many providers of online services you simply just cannot contact them. If you want to change your terms, you face...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation: General Scheme of the Consumer Rights Bill 2021: Discussion (13 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: My apologies, Chairman, but one if not two of my questions were not answered, so perhaps I may come back in again with them.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation: General Scheme of the Consumer Rights Bill 2021: Discussion (13 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: I wish to return to the issue of the difficulty in contacting many of these providers of services. It seems that they do this without any regard to consumers. This is important in the context of rising energy prices. Since people can reduce their costs significantly if they switch providers, this is a deliberate attempt to try to lock people in and put them at a disadvantage by using...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation: General Scheme of the Consumer Rights Bill 2021: Discussion (13 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: Many people want to discontinue their service and switch to another provider or they have a package that no longer meets their needs, but it is virtually impossible to make contact with their provider.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation: General Scheme of the Consumer Rights Bill 2021: Discussion (13 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: That is a nuclear option, though. You would have thought you had a right to alter your terms where, say, you have a phone package that you no longer need.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation: General Scheme of the Consumer Rights Bill 2021: Discussion (13 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: And that is part of their contract, as opposed to-----

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation: General Scheme of the Consumer Rights Bill 2021: Discussion (13 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: I am just a bit confused about where you can enforce under the contract versus where you go to the Data Protection Commission office and look for vindication under the law.

Written Answers — Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport: EU Regulations (12 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: 79. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport whether the system of supplementary charging for suitcases and so on by airlines is subject to any regulation, either nationally or at EU level. [49374/21]

Written Answers — Department of Education and Skills: School Patronage (12 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: 283. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the progress which has been made in evaluating the potential in local areas in which there is a substantial demand for non-religious education but the catchment is only served by religious schools to facilitate the change of patron by a process of needs assessment and release of one of the religious schools to a new patron. [49396/21]

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Employment Support Services (7 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: It is clear that the commitment is there. The real issue is what is happening to the take-up of those places by those who need them at this time. Specifically, do we need to look afresh at the waiting times for some of these schemes? There are waiting times for many people to participate in back-to-education, back-to-enterprise, start-up and other schemes. Also, we need to see whether...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Employment Support Services (7 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: One category is self-employed people, who have been very disrupted. I know there is a restart support for them, but I think we will have to look closely at those people to see whether they can survive financially and whether a second fillip can be given to that really important part of our workforce.

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Employment Support Services (7 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: 6. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the level of take-up of initiatives which have been put in place to help persons get back to work given that the economy has reopened; and if gaps in the range of supports are emerging. [47853/21]

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Employment Support Services (7 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: Everyone in the House appreciates that the economy has gone through massive change. Not only do we still have more than100,000 people in receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment, PUP, many sectors have been changed beyond recognition and will not come back to where they were. The supports for people getting back to work will be crucial. I would be interested in hearing what the take-up...

Written Answers — Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection: Employment Schemes (7 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: 81. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she has assessed the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on persons who have been supported under the back to work enterprise programme; and if she has considered the need to evolve this programme as the economy reopens. [47854/21]

Written Answers — Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection: Early Childhood Care and Education (7 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: 121. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the progress in developing proposals for an agency which would drive the development of early childhood services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47857/21]

Written Answers — Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection: Childcare Services (7 Oct 2021)

Richard Bruton: 142. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if he has considered greatly expanding the role of the county childcare committees in order that they could drive the development of childcare facilities in their county. [47856/21]

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