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Financial Resolutions 2021 - Budget Statement 2022 (12 Oct 2021)

Cathal Berry: This budget is an exercise in treading water. Most of the measures it contains involve frantically trying to keep up with the increase in the cost of living. Inflation is running at 3.7% and is likely to head towards 4% in the new year. One can talk about gross income or net income but the only income that really matters is discretionary income at the end of the week or month. That is...

Ceisteanna - Questions - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions: Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (7 Oct 2021)

Cathal Berry: I thank the Minister and agree entirely with the principle of her response. That is exactly what the Department of Social Protection should be for. It should be there to provide a safety net and safety blanket when required. I remember processing many claims to the Department and they were dealt with expeditiously and humanely. I appreciate that the Comptroller and Auditor General took...

Ceisteanna - Questions - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions: Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (7 Oct 2021)

Cathal Berry: That is great. That is reassuring information. I think the appropriate balance was struck between proper checks and controls, on the one hand, and proper humanity, on the other. That is important. The figures the Minister called out at the start of her response were staggering. Some 500,000 people had their claims processed over a three-week period. Those are incredible numbers. The...

Ceisteanna - Questions - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions: Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (7 Oct 2021)

Cathal Berry: 2. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the extent to which the pandemic unemployment payment was paid to ineligible recipients; the way she plans to recoup this funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48673/21]

Ceisteanna - Questions - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions: Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (7 Oct 2021)

Cathal Berry: I compliment the Minister, her predecessor, Senator Regina Doherty, and her very kind staff in the Department of Social Protection who administered the pandemic unemployment payment, PUP, programme. It has been a revolutionary programme and a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of people. It is one of the reasons we have almost beaten the pandemic and the virus. Last week, the Comptroller...

Written Answers — Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment: Fuel Poverty (7 Oct 2021)

Cathal Berry: 184. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the measures he plans to introduce in winter 2021-22 to address fuel poverty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48674/21]

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

Cathal Berry: 289. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the extent to which the processing of applications for the carer’s and disability allowance is in line with the most expeditious practice; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49082/21]

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

Cathal Berry: 290. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the extent to which the processing of appeals for the carer’s and disability allowance is in line with the most expeditious practice; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49083/21]

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

Cathal Berry: 291. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the extent to which satisfactory provision has been made for public sector employees reaching mandatory retirement age prior to reaching pensionable age; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49084/21]

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions (6 Oct 2021)

Cathal Berry: The Land Development Agency has a number of land banks under its control, some of which are former military installations and barracks. Some 25 years ago, mostly in 1998, soldiers and their families were evicted at short notice and the land banks handed over to the State. The land is now in the custody of the Land Development Agency. If the agency develops these sites, which include Devoy...

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions (6 Oct 2021)

Cathal Berry: Like many Deputies, I drove to Leinster House this morning. I drove from Portarlington through Monasterevin and Rathangan and on to Newbridge. It is great to see building sites back open again, machinery moving very early in the morning, people moving with purpose, laying blocks and building high-quality housing to a high environmental standard. I pushed on to Tougher Service Station in...

Energy Prices: Motion [Private Members] (6 Oct 2021)

Cathal Berry: I thank People Before Profit-Solidarity for preparing this very important motion this morning. It is very timely and topical in light of the budget next week. I will focus my contribution on the concept of energy security at a macro, national level but also and, perhaps most importantly, at a micro, household, individual level. We can all appreciate that there is a very significant...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence: Reserve Defence Force: Discussion (5 Oct 2021)

Cathal Berry: I welcome our guests and thank them for their opening statement. It was a comprehensive, fairly grim but accurate assessment of where we are. Honestly is always a good place to start. I will raise three questions. The first is in light of the legislation that will probably be signed off by the President in the coming weeks to allow Reserve Defence Forces people deploy overseas. What...

Afghanistan Crisis: Statements (29 Sep 2021)

Cathal Berry: I thank the Minister for coming to the Chamber to debate this important topic. His speech and that of the Minister of State, Deputy Brophy, were very detailed and comprehensive. The discussion this evening really emphasises the extent of the tragedy and catastrophe that have befallen the Afghan people, both those inside the border of Afghanistan and those who are scattered all over the...

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (28 Sep 2021)

Cathal Berry: I very much welcome the proposal being floated at present to establish a specific task force to tackle the ever-growing hospital waiting lists in Naas General Hospital and every hospital in the country. If the vaccine task force under Professor Brian MacCraith has taught us anything, it is that if one assembles the right people with the right skills and the right resources, one can achieve...

EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: Motion (21 Sep 2021)

Cathal Berry: I thank the Minister of State for coming to the Chamber to propose this motion on extending the interim period of co-operation between the EU and UK on the exchange of data of an evidential nature. I have no difficulty with the motion. It is very prudent and sensible and I look forward to supporting its passage through the Dáil. I support it for three reasons primarily. First, we...

Maritime Area Planning Bill 2021: Second Stage (Resumed) (16 Sep 2021)

Cathal Berry: I thank the Minister of State for coming into the Chamber this afternoon to debate this Bill. It is a Bill that is long overdue. I welcome its publication and look forward to supporting its passage through the Houses of the Oireachtas over the coming days and weeks. I have three points to make. First, I wish to emphasise the importance of the marine domain in this country. I heard...

Confidence in Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence: Motion (15 Sep 2021)

Cathal Berry: I have absolutely no hesitation in voting confidence in the Minister, Deputy Coveney, tonight. I do it for one reason and one reason only. Earlier this year he committed to implementing the findings of the Commission on Defence Forces, which is scheduled for submission in a few weeks' time. I very much look forward to the Minister, Deputy Coveney, still being in office so that I can hold...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence: Appointment of Special Envoys: Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence (7 Sep 2021)

Cathal Berry: I thank the Minister for his opening statement and for the apology contained within it. I have three questions. They are technical in nature. Perhaps the Minister or his team might be able to answer them over the next few minutes. I acknowledge the large treasure trove of documentation that was uploaded onto the Department of Foreign Affair's website yesterday. It was very useful and...

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