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Social Welfare Bill 2012: Second Stage (Resumed)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 2

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Social Welfare Bill 2012: Second Stage (Resumed)

  The following motion was moved by the Minister for Social Protection on Tuesday, 11 December 2012:

That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

Debate resumed on the following amendment:

To delete all words after "That" and substitute the following:
"Dáil Éireann declines to give a Second Reading to the Social Welfare Bill 2012 because it unfairly places the burden of recovery on children, carers and the low paid and having regard to the failure of the Government to consider taxing high earners and wealth instead."

-(Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh).

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer It is important to put the debate in context. When I listen to the largest Opposition party, in particular, it seems as if amnesia has set in. This is the party that took €16.50 a week from the disabled and the blind, those who required the most help from the State. Its members have come here tonight ready to cast their votes, but they have brought forward no propositions. I understand Deputy Willie O'Dea's frustration and annoyance. If I was in his shoes, I would be the same.

Deputy Willie O'Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea Would you, Deputy?

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer I would be embarrassed. In its last two budgets before it left office Fianna Fáil slashed core weekly payments on which citizens relied. In our case, as a Government, we restored the minimum wage, maintained core weekly payments and have a plan to restore the country's finances. That is why there is positivity regarding the 2,500 places available on the Tús scheme, which will increase numbers to 7,500. There are 2,500 new JobBridge places, which will increase the total to 8,500 and there are an additional 2,500 community employment scheme places, with 2,000 new places in local authority social employment schemes. These are to be welcomed. They are activating measures that will move people away from the hopelessness they feel and bring them towards measures which will enable them to find work in the future.

The Government has taken tough decisions. Unlike the second party on the Opposition benches, it does not bring with it a partition mentality on the island. I challenge Deputies Martin Ferris and Mary Lou McDonald. A true sense of republicanism------

(Interruptions).

Deputy Martin Ferris: Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris I will take Deputy Jerry Buttimer down the Shankill Road and show him what it is like around there

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer I know what the Deputy did; he should not worry. If we want a true sense of republicanism, let us have parity on the island.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald Really.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer Those of us who want to see an Ireland of equals are trying to achieve this.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald Get the transfer, Jerry.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer Sinn Féin's mentality and attitude is that it does not want the country to succeed in order that it can grab its supporters and wave its little flag. That is the reality.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald Yes, yes; go away.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I would appreciate it if the Deputy allowed Deputy Jerry Buttimer to speak.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald It is really very trying.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer The Deputy is for nothing and against everything. Her little fancy world was-----

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald A Cheann Comhairle, what is that background noise? It must be very depressing for you.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer The budget is one that many of us in the House would never wish to introduce because it impinges and impacts on people. Some €3.1 billion is not small change. However, the Government is committed to the renewal of the country. It is about creating a new Ireland, whereas the party on the opposite side which promised clever politics practises the same clapped-out type it has practised for 50 years. It is all about looking after its own and appealing to its support base.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald The Deputy is going to hammer carers.

Deputy Willie O'Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea Look in the mirror.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer That was Fianna Fáil's way.   For 14 years it led the people a merry dance. The problem is that they now recognise it is preaching more of the same.

Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Protect the rich and steal from the poor.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer Fianna Fáil's record in government is that it got rid of the Green Party, buried the Progressive Democrats and could not cope with the Labour Party. Now it has nobody with whom to coalesce.

Deputy Martin Ferris: Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris The Deputy's party brought in the Labour Party.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer This is recognised by the people. I am out and about every day. I knock on doors and listen to people. Their message to me is:"You have been given a mandate to get the country back."

Deputy John Browne: Information on John Browne Zoom on John Browne That is not the message we are hearing.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer That is what we are going to do and it requires tough decisions.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald Jerry, you are so tough. I am so impressed.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer It requires political courage to make decisions that will in five and ten years give people hope and allow my nephews and godchildren the opportunity to live in this country, be educated, find a job and raise their families here. That opportunity has been lost for the past 14 years.

If one wishes to consider the voodoo knowledge of Sinn Féin, one should look at its propaganda leaflets and manifestos. One should look at what it is doing in government in the North. It says one thing up there but something different down here.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald Jerry, you are just so tough. We have no answer to that.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer Sinn Féin is full of hypocrisy.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald We are prepared to acknowledge how tough the Deputy is.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Do you mind, Deputy? You complain about this kind of thing and then will not allow the Deputy to speak.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald We consider it revenge.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer You not want to hear the truth because you were scolded-----

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I will not ask Deputy Mary Lou McDonald a second time. Let all Deputies speak through the Chair.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer Gabh mo leithscéal, a Cheann Comhairle.

Deputy John Browne: Information on John Browne Zoom on John Browne Exactly.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer The Government has increased spending on carers by almost €20 million. This year we are spending €780 million on carers, €520 million on carer's allowance; €23 million on carer's benefit; €132 million on the respite care grant and €104 on domiciliary care allowance. Some 52,000 people are in receipt of carer's allowance, whereas in 2001 there were 20,000.

This is about making decisions that will get people back to work and support an economy that is about the people. There is a focus on the respite care grant that many of us would prefer was not on it. This is not a cut that anybody in his or her right mind would make if it was a time of boom and bloom. However, it is a cut imposed on us because of the economic policies pursued by the Members opposite. I know and appreciate Deputy John Browne finds the narrative hard to take.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer It is important to recognise that Deputy Willie O'Dea sat at the Cabinet table for almost 12 of the past 14 years.

Deputy Willie O'Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea I did not.

Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Deputy's party wanted to spend more and tax less.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer The Deputy is full of hypocrisy. Thanks to the mandate of the Government the country will have its sovereignty restored. It will create jobs and is doing so now. More and more people are seeking to come to invest in the country. That is about a Government and the people working together. The budget will have an impact on the economic spend of the people. However, it has been framed with the overarching goal and aspiration of getting people back to work. If the Members opposite want to see Ireland fail, that is their business, but the Government is focused on driving reform, creating jobs and protecting the people.

Deputy Willie O'Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea What did it create?

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer Every day I meet people from all walks of life who tell me that we should get the country back on track and not to allow a situation to continue where we have to see our loved ones move abroad where there are jobs.

Deputy Willie O'Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea Get off the stage.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Deputy will leave if he continues to interrupt.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer Every day the Government rectifies the mistakes made. It is committed to the task of rebuilding Ireland. It does not have one eye on the opinion poll and the other on the ballot box.

Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl It has both eyes on the opinion poll.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer There were 14 years during which we saw this happen. There were greedy cuts and today there is this gargantuan hypocrisy. I understand the triviality and jocoseness of Deputy Willie O'Dea because I, too, would be ashamed of that record.

Deputy Willie O'Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea I find the Deputy funny. Is that okay?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I must ask the Deputy to complete his contribution.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer As a Government, we will prioritise the national housing strategy. We will look at the report on child benefit in order to see how we can change the body of social welfare payments.

Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Reduce it further.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I call on the Minister to reply.


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