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 Header Item Leaders' Questions (Continued)
 Header Item Order of Business

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 2

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  11 o’clock

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny We have set out our position. The requirement of the programme that we, as a country, are in requires that a property tax be introduced. The Minister for Finance will give the details of that today in his budgetary contribution. We are one of the last countries in Europe not to have a property tax, and we want this to be as fair and equitable, and it should be seen as progressive.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath For God's sake.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The alternative is to increase income tax and put taxes on work.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath The Government is doing that anyway.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny That is not the direction in which we want to go. Some 20,000 new jobs were created in the past 12 months in the private sector.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath How many were lost?

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy There has been net loss of employment since the Government took office.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny There are signs of confidence, as I have noted, in the economy.

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy What is the number of jobs in the economy?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny They are by no means the be all and end all but the fact is that Bank of Ireland was able to raise €1 billion without a guarantee and AIB is also out raising money without the State guarantee. There is also the case of the ESB and Bord Gáis, as well as the sale of licences to three major telecommunications companies. One of the rating companies has also put the country on an improved rating. These are signs of importance.

The live register for November will be 2,895 lower than the October level and 12,290 lower than the November 2011 total.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis The people are all gone. They have emigrated.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Less than half of the fall is attributable to increases in the numbers on the Tús and JobBridge scheme over the past 12 months. The figure is 7,500 lower than the November 2010 total. The seasonally adjusted total is down 1,500 to 432,000. That is much too high but the rate is down to 14.6%.

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy The figures for jobs in the economy are decreasing. They were down 5,800 in the last quarter, 8,000 in a previous quarter and 40,000 in the 12 months to last June.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny We are beginning to go in the right direction and we want to build on that with today's budget. The property tax to be outlined by the Minister for Finance today will be of benefit to the people in the localities who will pay it. It is progressive and it will be fair. There are arrangements, as will be outlined by the Minister, for those who find themselves in particular circumstances.

Middle Ireland has risen to this challenge. We must get through the challenging period ahead and beyond that there will be an opportunity to grow our economy, continue to attract investment and provide for opportunities for our young people to have work in this country.

Order of Business

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It is proposed to take No. 79, motion re disability funding and services (resumed); and No. 19, Budget Statement and the financial motions by the Minister for Finance, which shall be taken today at 2.30 p.m.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight and the motion for the General Financial Resolution shall be moved not later than 12 midnight, whereupon the Dáil shall adjourn forthwith; the sitting shall be suspended on the conclusion of Private Members’ business until 2.30 p.m.; following the statements of the Minister for Finance and of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, which shall not exceed 45 minutes in each case, the following arrangements shall apply in relation to the proceedings on No. 19: the statements of the main spokespersons for finance and public expenditure and reform for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed an aggregate of 60 minutes in each case, and such Members may share their time; following the statements the sitting shall be suspended for 30 minutes; and all divisions demanded on No. 19 shall be taken manually.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett There are four proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. and the motion for the General Financial Resolution be moved not later than 12 midnight agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with the suspension of sitting agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with the Budget Statement and financial motions agreed? Agreed.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin It seems a long time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Is the proposal that all divisions demanded on No. 19 be taken manually agreed? Agreed.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I read a headline this morning that may cause some reflection. It indicated that a delay in enacting legislation is destroying lives. This relates to the Personal Insolvency Bill. I remember predicting in July that the framework would not be put in place until 2013. The legislation has passed through the House so the question relates to the regulations that must be commenced to ensure that the measures in the Bill are operable and can be brought into play to assist people with personal indebtedness. We are not entirely satisfied with the Bill as it gives a veto to the banks on a continuous basis and thousands of people are in mortgage arrears.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Bill is in the Seanad.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Will the Taoiseach provide an update? Will it be operable before the new year?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It will be finished before the Houses rise for Christmas.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Will the regulations be in operation?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny There are details in setting up the new agency. The director has been appointed and the date has been fixed for it to commence operations. For that to happen, the Bill must go through the system here. It will be completed.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin That sounds like it will be the new year.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the right to join trade unions includes a right to bargain collectively, and the Government has committed to reform legislation on workers' rights to allow that. The Taoiseach knows that now more than at any other time workers must have their rights to collective bargaining enshrined in law and protected. Does the Government remain committed to introducing this legislation, when will it be published and when will it come before the Dáil?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I cannot give the Deputy an answer. He raised the question yesterday and I put a query into the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. I will give the Deputy the details of the current position when I have it.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath I will speak to an issue relating to Central Bank legislation. The code of practice agreed by the Central Bank for lending companies is not being adhered to. Militia groups are acting as agents of the banks. Such groups were in the constituency of the Minister of State, Deputy Kehoe, last week, as he is aware.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett What legislation are we discussing?

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath It relates to Central Bank legislation.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Bill 2011 is on Committee Stage. I answered the question for Deputy McGrath yesterday.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath I was unable to be here.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett A Deputy made apologies for you.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath We have lines of communication. The issue must be dealt with or the legislation must be changed-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett It is in train at the moment.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath -----to stop marauding thugs. I have horrific photographic evidence of what happened in County Wexford.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Deputy should put down a question.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath I know the Minister of State, Deputy Kehoe, is trying to deal with this as well. I have asked for the matter to be taken as a topical issue but it has not been granted.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae Is it true that people paying the second home charge will be hit with double taxation by having to pay the property tax?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett A parliamentary question would suffice for that.

Deputy Kevin Humphreys: Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys Last Monday, I attended a meeting with Deputies Maureen O'Sullivan and Ó Snodaigh relating to problems in the city where many worthy charities are collecting money. Nevertheless, a significant minority of so-called chuggers are causing severe problems through the aggressive collection of money on the streets. The Charities Act 2009 was to introduce measures to control the activity but they have not been put in operation through a code of practice. When will that code come into operation?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Deputy has raised an important issue. I will ask the Whip to raise the matter and see what the current position is of the code of conduct. The issue has been reported to me from the streets recently.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan What is the current position of the control of alcohol Bill, particularly with regard to the ongoing debate on abuse of alcohol and the need to in some way address that issue? At what stage is the courts (consolidation and reform) Bill, which purports to provide for the implementation of the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny There is no date fixed for the publication of the courts (consolidation and reform) Bill. The control of alcohol Bill is being dealt with by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Shatter, and a Minister of State, Deputy White. I expect it to be brought forward early in the new year.

Deputy Noel Grealish: Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish There was a recent announcement by Bord Iascaigh Mhara of an intention to locate a fish farm with a capacity of 15,000 tonnes annually off the west of Ireland.


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