Seanad debates

Friday, 30 April 2021

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:00 am

Photo of Mary Seery KearneyMary Seery Kearney (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I offer my condolences to Senator Mullen.I have a matter to raise with the Leader which I need her to write a letter about, but I need to respond to Senator Gavan's remarks. What is happening in Iron Mountain is highly regrettable but nothing in this State stops someone from joining a union. In fact, one's entitlement to association is enshrined in the Constitution. Furthermore, unions themselves need to be much more transparent about how they make decisions about whether to go forward to the Workplace Relations Commission, WRC, or not. On a number of occasions, I have had to step in on a pro bonobasis to represent people in the WRC where their union, to which they have been paying dues for decades, has refused to go on their behalf because it is not tactically suitable. To stand up and blame the Government without transparency in unions and to paint the misnomer that a nirvana of collective bargaining will solve everybody's ills is absolutely downright misleading.

I was on a forum for Deliveroo workers recently where a member of Sinn Féin was talking about "join your union and we'll deliver you an employment contract", glossing over the fact that there is a complete lack of mutuality of obligation in the Deliveroo arrangement and they can substitute other workers. Consequently, what is being said to those workers and the promises being given are utterly without basis.

On the assisted decision-making (capacity) Bill, I ask that we write a letter to the Minister to ask that this Bill be accelerated into law. The Minister has given a good commitment and there is a programme of work there to make sure the remaining aspects of that Bill are commenced as quickly as possible. There are people becoming wards of court in the State all the time and, when they become wards of court, as noted by Lorraine Dempsey of Inclusion Ireland at the Joint Committee on Disability Matters, they lose all entitlement to make any decisions about their lives or to have any autonomy over their body. It is a great piece of law. We need it brought in. We need it commenced and we need a letter to go to the Minister to accelerate its commencement.


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