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An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (Continued)

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 980 No. 7

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  3 o’clock

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin] The 2016 figures show that 16 women and children were being turned away from refuges every day. Ireland has fewer than one third of the places required. Tusla, which is the statutory agency responsible for the provision of domestic violence services, is claiming there is one place for every 10,000 women, which is not the same as one for every 10,000 members of the population. We have called for a dedicated capital fund to provide additional refuge places. Ten counties have no such places. In Dublin, there are no places in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown where Labour Party councillor, Deirdre Kingston, has been seeking funding for a refuge for a considerable period. Will the Tánaiste or Minister for Justice and Equality commit to providing a dedicated capital fund to ensure that all local authorities provide this vital service?

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I acknowledge the support of all parties here in facilitating the ratification of the Istanbul Convention that involved four pieces of distinct legislation. Having regard to the fact that this Dáil has been dubbed the "do nothing Dáil", this is progress that is not only welcome but enduring.

I acknowledge what Deputy Howlin said about refuges. This is a challenge. I have been speaking to the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government on the issue. He faces challenges in this area as well. I hope to be in a position to report progress on the matter. I would like an opportunity to interrogate further the proposal made by Deputy Howlin and I would be happy to report on this issue in a few months' time.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger I want to ask the Tánaiste about the new nursing contract the Government is negotiating with the INMO. News has broken in the past 24 hours that not only is nursing one of the toughest jobs in society but now the Government wants to make it one of the most insecure. It is unbelievable. As it was, this was a modest pay offer to nurses but the Government seems to want to extract a pound of flesh to get them to vote for it. If the nurses and midwives decide to return to the picket line, which is a much more likely prospect thanks to the Government's shenanigans over the past while, they will get even support from members of the public when they see that what the Government tried to do to the nurses was introduce a Trojan horse of a contract to make their lives even more difficult than they were before the strike. We heard about International Women's Day. If the Government wants equality for women, it should pay the nurses. It should not just talk about education and so on. If it paid the nurses and closed the gender pay gap, that would be the best service it could do for women.

The Tánaiste: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I think the industrial relations infrastructure of the State will be called upon again here. There is likely to be a Labour Court hearing on this matter next week. From the perspective of management, the Government and the nursing union, we want to get this issue resolved in a way that is consistent with the agreement that was the basis for the ending of industrial action by nurses. Everybody wants to work to that end. I suspect that the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court will help us to get there.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath An independent commission was set up to examine boundaries for local electoral areas. The commission reported and we all accepted it apart from the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government. Cahir has been put into the electoral area of Cashel-Tipperary. The Galtee Mountains are in between. The Tánaiste must travel past these mountains on his way home to Cork. There is no road through them. A person must go into counties Cork and Limerick to get into Tipperary or back into Bansha. The council recently voted by an overwhelming majority against what has happened. It is totally dissatisfied. Aside from the council, the public is being discommoded. This decision is blatant interference with the report of an independent commission. Is this what this Government will be proud of - going back to the heavy days of Jim Tully gerrymandering, messing and trying to organise things to suit the Government? It is outrageous. The Government interfered with an independent commission. Can the Tánaiste tell me that the Government will reverse this decision as soon as possible?

The Tánaiste: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I will have to ask the line Minister to come back to me with that detail because I do not have it here.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy I understand that the Government approved the appointment of a judge for the independent assessment for the CervicalCheck non-disclosure ex gratia payment last week and that the decision was to be finalised at the Cabinet meeting this week. Did this happen? When will the details be made known to the women in question?

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