Wednesday, 3 February 2010
Order of Business
Donie Cassidy (Fianna Fail)
My apologies. It is the Jack and Jill Children's Foundation. This is an area where, again, the Minister has an opportunity to address something substantially, which could be of huge benefit both to the young people who receive the services and also to the Exchequer. I support the Senators and will convey their views to the Minister after the Order of Business.
I accept the point made by Senator O'Toole about commencement dates in Bills. This is something we must examine, and I will convey the Senator's view to the Minister.
Senators Fitzgerald, Bacik, Coghlan, Healy Eames, Callely, Buttimer, Donohoe and Hannigan expressed their concern about the new figures that have been published for unemployment and tax revenues. As Senator Hanafin pointed out, given the weather in the first two weeks in January it is understandable that VAT income is down substantially. Everybody experienced difficulty at that time, particularly people in the retail sector. With regard to the unemployment figures, employment always lags behind growth in the economy. As we know from experience over the years, the economy will pick up and will be in growth for some time before the unemployment figure starts to reduce.
Various views have been expressed, particularly by Senator Ross, about the tables which illustrate the change and reductions in net pay since 2008. I have a table before me which indicates that the pay of clerical officers at the lowest rate was reduced by 7.3%, the pay of assistant principals was reduced by 16.8%, that of principal officers by 19.3%, that of assistant general secretaries by 24.9%, that of Department general secretaries by 27% and that of Secretaries General by 33.9%.