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Leaders' Questions (Continued)

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 3

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Deputy Niall Collins: Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins People can take great comfort from that.

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen What tradition is that?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte If my name was Cowen, I would stay quiet in this debate.

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen There are no rabbits to be pulled from the hat here.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett We are over time.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Some 40% of total current spending goes on the social welfare budget and that budget contributed 10% to the adjustments here.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher We are talking about people on low pay, not those on social welfare.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte If anyone can tell me how to address the budget, in circumstances where 40% of spending goes on social welfare, without making some savings on social welfare, it cannot be done.

Deputy Dinny McGinley: Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley What about the dirty dozen?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte As John Maynard Keynes said: When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?

Deputy Niall Collins: Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins Deputy Rabbitte is ignorant of the facts.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte We are confronted with the mess Fianna Fáil left. That is what we must deal with. I am happy to say that, thanks to the efforts of the Irish people, 85% of the heavy lifting is behind us-----

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher On the backs of the poor.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte -----and that is considerable credit to the people who bore the cost of the mess Fianna Fáil inflicted on the Irish people.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary The Minister did not protect families yesterday, those who need the respite grant or families on low income by charging them the same PRSI increase as those on high income.

Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin: Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Does Deputy Calleary remember the cut to the minimum wage?

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary I will quote from-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Perhaps Deputy Calleary will ask a question instead.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary -----the Minister, Deputy Rabbitte's party chairman. I am referring to the Labour Party because I know the Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, has been in many parties. The party chairman, Deputy Colm Keaveney, said:

Tonight's vote not a vote on #Budget13 in its entirety, only on elements that I can live with. Next week is a different story.

Later he said:

Tonight's vote touches little that is problematic in #Budget13. That's for next week and the effort to stop them begins this evening.

What is Deputy Keaveney's effort to stop them? Can the Minister confirm all of the provisions announced by Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Burton, will be contained in the social welfare Bill or will Deputy Keaveney's effort to stop them undermine the entire budget?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte With regard to PRSI, for the first time in the history of the State, following the decision to lift the ceiling so that PRSI is attachable to all income, in future PRSI will be attachable to all unearned income. If income is from shares, dividends, rental properties or professional fees, it will be now necessary to pay PRSI. One cannot take a single item and present it in the partisan fashion Deputy Calleary has done.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary Hello. The Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, wrote the book on it.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Overall, the PRSI fund is in deep trouble and it is essential to maintain benefits. The very poorest and most modest paid in our society receive most of the benefits. Whether one is earning €120,000 or €20,000, one gets the same pension. For the first time, those with unearned income are now responsible for PRSI. It is the utmost of humbug for Fianna Fáil, having brought the country to the verge of ruin, to take these positions. It would appear the leopard does not change its spots.

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen How many spots are on the Minister, Deputy Rabbitte's back, with all the parties he criss-crossed?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte From where I am looking across at Fianna Fáil Members, there are as many spots as if they had the measles.

Deputy Tom Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes Zoom on Tom Hayes Members should be careful of diseases.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Let us look at this leaflet being put around in opposition to the property tax.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett We do not display leaflets.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Who is putting it around? The very man who negotiated it, Deputy Micheál Martin. The Dalai Lama of Ballinlough comes in here-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett We do not display leaflets in the Chamber. It is a long tradition. I ask the Minister to finish; we are over time.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I will not display leaflets. It is the utmost in hypocrisy for the party that brought this country to the edge of ruin to pretend, having negotiated the very memorandum of understanding that required the Government to introduce a property tax, to take up a position of opposition to it.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary Here is Chairman Keaveney.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I will not tolerate shouting from either side of the Chamber. I am giving Members plenty notice. I call Deputy McDonald without interruption.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald It is the utmost in humbug, Scrooge, to come in here and make any pretence that yesterday's budget was fair. We all know it represented a betrayal of a range of promises the Government collectively, but the Labour Party in particular, made to the electorate before the last election. That is the Government's problem. More to the point, it represented an all-out attack on older people, families, women and children. I could raise a range of issues, including the cut to child benefit, which is an obvious one, the taxation of maternity benefit and the mean cut to the back-to-school allowance for footwear and clothing for children. I find it shocking and indefensible.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald I want to raise one of the bad decisions made by the Government and it concerns the decision on the respite care grant. The Government has cut €325 from 77,000 families, 20,000 of whom receive no other State payment. All of the families care for people, many of whom have severe disabilities, including children. The Minister needs to reverse this decision. Fairness was breached in the budget comprehensively but this cut is not even about fairness but about decency. Making this kind of cut breaches decency. The backbenchers will make much noise while indulging in amateur dramatics and theatrics on a range of issues. On this cut to respite for families who give care to people, the Minister and his Cabinet colleagues must back down.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I call the Minister without interruption.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte My backbenchers cannot compete in making noise with Deputy McDonald. She makes less sense economically than the flaky stuntmen in the Technical Group and she refused-----

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Minister should answer the question about respite care.

Deputy Michael McNamara: Information on Michael McNamara Zoom on Michael McNamara Deputy Finian McGrath is all right with his €40,000 allowance.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I ask Deputy Finian McGrath to sit down please.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Minister is a disgrace.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald This is serious.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Deputy McGrath should sit down. You were at this the other day. You are trying to get yourself thrown out again but I am not going to satisfy you. Sit down and do not be making a show of yourself.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte That is stuntman No. 1.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath What about the Minister?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Deputy will not be thrown out.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte It was interesting during the budget that the only squealing from the Technical Group was when it was made to account for its leaders' allowances.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath That is rubbish.


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