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Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl: Are any other Deputies offering before we go back to the Minister? We are not going to torture him now or anything.

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Michael McGrath: Hopefully not, a Cheann Comhairle. I assure Deputy Smith that I am not going anywhere. I am never going to be far away from the House or Members. I can be held to account at any time and am happy to be held to account and to attend committees and plenary sessions as well. The Deputy should not underestimate the value of this debate. My officials are here while other officials are...

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Gerald Nash: Nervously.

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Michael McGrath: They are listening very carefully to all the contributions being made. There is an process ongoing at the moment. The amendment I am being asked to accept includes a report covering engagement the Minister has had with union representatives of political staff in respect of their pay claim. In fairness, that is not my role. It is not my role to engage directly with the unions. The...

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Amendment put: The Dáil divided: Tá, 44; Níl, 69; Staon, 0. Tellers: Tá, Deputies Thomas Pringle and Róisín Shortall; Níl, Deputies Jack Chambers and Brendan Griffin.

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Tá Ivana Bacik, Richard Boyd Barrett, John Brady, Martin Browne, Pat Buckley, Holly Cairns, Matt Carthy, Sorca Clarke, Catherine Connolly, Réada Cronin, Seán Crowe, David Cullinane, Pa Daly, Pearse Doherty, Dessie Ellis, Mairead Farrell, Kathleen Funchion, Gary Gannon, Thomas Gould, Johnny Guirke, Gino Kenny, Martin Kenny, Claire Kerrane, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, Michael...

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Amendment declared lost.

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Thomas Pringle: I thank the Minister for his response. It is obvious from it that he feels strongly about the situation and he wants to send the clear message that the situation does need to be resolved. I take on board that the Oireachtas Commission and the union must engage with the WRC and come up with a proposal before the Minister has a role in considering it. It is one thing to say it in the House...

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Mairead Farrell: It is good to hear that the Government party TDs have also been strong on the case and that the Minister understands where we are coming from. I agree with Deputy Pringle. It is great that we are having this discussion and I am not suggesting that anyone would purposely forget it but I am concerned that it could slip off the radar in time. That is why I think this kind of report would be...

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Róisín Shortall: I welcome the Minister's positive comments. He is sending a signal, there is no doubt. This is a very long-running issue. We cannot continue with a situation where we are not treating our staff in an acceptable manner. That is the reality. We should not allow it to continue any longer. I accept the Minister's bona fides but he must also accept ours. This is a reasonable amendment. It...

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Gerald Nash: I thank the Minister for his positive contribution. Even in a short time he has travelled a considerable journey in terms of articulating that political signal and making it very clear that he wants that issue resolved in the interest of secretarial assistants and the sustainability and attractiveness of that employment. It is always a concern with public service negotiators that they may...

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Bríd Smith: On knock-on effects and pay increases across sectors, we have to acknowledge, and we would be putting our heads in the sand if we did not, that we have a problem with low pay in this country and particularly in the public sector. The ushers and service officers in this House, the cleaners, everyone who looks after us, are not paid enough. The pay is too low. We are not just singling out...

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Michael McGrath: I thank all of my colleagues for their contributions on this amendment and on Second Stage. I acknowledge the points they have all made about the role of our secretarial assistants. They do extraordinary work. In the 30 or 35 minutes we have been in the Chamber we can be sure that the phones in our offices have rung more than once, many e-mails have arrived into our inboxes, messages have...

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Gerald Nash: As the Minister knows, I spoke at length on this issue on Second Stage and I provided him with the wisdom of my experience as a former secretarial assistant back in the day. It was my first full-time job in politics so I have seen this system evolve over the last 20 years and it has not always evolved in a positive fashion. It has been nothing other than regressive for secretarial...

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Mairead Farrell: Unfortunately I was not in attendance at the discussion on this Bill on Tuesday. Although I wanted to be here, I was not able to attend. I welcome this discussion, which goes to the heart of everything we do and to the heart of fairness and equity. I want to agree with something that Deputy Nash said. I would imagine that most Deputies in this Chamber are in agreement with this amendment...

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Bríd Smith: I am somewhat puzzled by this. I am glad we are having this debate in the Dáil. I do not think we would be having it were it not for the SAs who got themselves organised into the union, began to push to make this an issue and had webinar meetings with us in this Covid-19 time. Without them, we would not be discussing this matter in the way that we are. It is very important that we...

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Róisín Shortall: There are a couple of principles at play here, the first one being the importance of a living wage. In many ways, the principle has been accepted by the Government insofar as there is a commitment to the living wage in the programme for Government. It is not clear exactly when that will happen, but at least the Government seems to recognise the principle that people should receive a living...

Finance (European Stability Mechanism and Single Resolution Fund) Bill 2021 [Seanad]: Report and Final Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Finance (European Stability Mechanism and Single Resolution Fund) Bill 2021 [Seanad]: Report and Final Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Cathal Crowe: As there are no amendments on Report Stage we proceed to Fifth Stage.

Finance (European Stability Mechanism and Single Resolution Fund) Bill 2021 [Seanad]: Report and Final Stages (2 Dec 2021)

Bill received for final consideration. Question proposed: "That the Bill do now Pass."

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