Monday, 30 April 2012
Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2012: Report and Remaining Stages
Before we commence, I remind Members that a Senator may speak only once on Report Stage except the proposer of an amendment, who may reply to the discussion on the amendment. On Report Stage, each amendment must be seconded. Amendment No. 1 arises out of committee proceedings and is in the name of Senators Mooney and Darragh O'Brien. Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 are related and may be discussed together by agreement. Is that agreed? Agreed.
I move amendment No. 1:
In page 5, between lines 22 and 23, to insert the following:
"(5) Section 4 shall come into operation on such a day or days as the Minister for Social Protection may appoint by order or orders either generally or with reference to any particular purpose or provision but not before a statutory scheme of comprehensive childcare available to all children shall be put in place as verified by vote of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Social Protection and Education.".
In the interests of brevity and given the fact that the House debated this matter in some considerable detail on Friday and today, my amendment puts down a marker from my side of the House regarding the opinion expressed on all sides that there should be a comparatively enhanced child care provision in place if the Bill is to be implemented. It would also lessen the impact. The debate has been exhausted to the point of clarity and I will make no further contribution other than to state that we will press the amendments.
I have explained my views to the House. I welcome that we have had a positive debate on the necessity of a programme of preschool and after-school care. We have a number of years in which to progress that programme in an active way, given the fact that the threshold of seven years of age arises from 2014 for new entrants and 2015 and 2016 for existing recipients. It would be a good day's work if our discussions outlined once again the commitment to the necessity of a good system of preschool and after-school care.
The Seanad Divided:
For the motion: 26 (Ivana Bacik, Colm Burke, Deirdre Clune, Eamonn Coghlan, Paul Coghlan, Michael Comiskey, Martin Conway, Maurice Cummins, Michael D'Arcy, John Gilroy, Jimmy Harte, Aideen Hayden, Fidelma Healy Eames, James Heffernan, Lorraine Higgins, Caít Keane, John Kelly, Denis Landy, Marie Maloney, Mary Moran, Tony Mulcahy, Michael Mullins, Catherine Noone, Susan O'Keeffe, Pat O'Neill, Tom Shehan)
Against the motion: 17 (Thomas Byrne, David Cullinane, Mark Daly, Terry Leyden, Fiach MacConghail, Paschal Mooney, David Norris, Darragh O'Brien, Denis O'Donovan, Ned O'Sullivan, Averil Power, Kathryn Reilly, Jillian van Turnhout, Jim Walsh, Mary White, Diarmuid Wilson, Katherine Zappone)
Tellers: Tá, Senators Paul Coghlan and Susan O'Keeffe; Níl, Senators Ned O'Sullivan and Diarmuid Wilson.
Question declared carried.