Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

Social Welfare Bill 2012: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Remaining Stages (Continued)

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 73 Next Page Last Page

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton] I know Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett has a particular problem with recovering payments made as a consequence of fraud.

Deputy Róisín Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall Why is the Minister continuing to talk on this section? This is her-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Please allow the Minister to continue, without interruption.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh She should speak to the topic we are discussing.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton We are going to recover the money and in recovering it we will make more funds available for those who rely for their income on the Department of Social Protection. The sum of €20.2 billion provided by taxpayers and those who lend us the funds represents 37% of all Government spending. For those who are concerned about social solidarity in Ireland, €20.2 billion is a very large sum. However, for some Deputies it is not enough. I appreciate this and personally would like if it was more, but in order to protect social welfare payments, we have to return the country to economic sustainability.

On the suggestions made by Members, including Deputy Ryan, I will raise them with the Minister for Finance specifically because they have a good deal of merit and merit detailed examination.

Deputy Joan Collins: Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins  On a point of order, as one of the proposers of this measure, I seek the permission of the other proposers to have the section put to a vote now.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Deputy Michael Lowry has indicated that he wishes to speak.

Deputy Joan Collins: Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins I do not think he is going to speak.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett He has indicated to me that he wishes to do so.

Deputy Michael Lowry: Information on Michael Lowry Zoom on Michael Lowry Before the question is put on the section, I add my voice in opposition to the cut to carer's allowance - the carer's grant. It is not all that long ago when the Minister was waxing eloquently and strongly in favour of the poor and the underprivileged. Looking at the budget, there is only one description for it. It is unfair and lacks compassion, particularly in the case of the Minister's Department. It punishes the poor, carers in particular, through the reduction of the carer's grant. Carers believe they are a burden on the State because of the reduction in the fund. They should be looked upon as a very special resource - people who have the skills and the time and who make sacrifices on an individual basis to give love and provide care and attention for their families and others within their communities. Instead of reducing the carer's grant, we should be acknowledging the contribution they make. We should also acknowledge that they are not a burden on the State, but rather that they make a generous contribution to the health and welfare of others. I support the proposal which should be put to the House.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton May I reply briefly to Deputy Michael Lowry?

Deputy Joan Collins: Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins We want to have the section put to a vote.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton This year the Government increased spending on carers by €20 million.

Deputy John Halligan: Information on John Halligan Zoom on John Halligan Will the Ceann Comhairle put the section to a vote? We want to vote on it now.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton In the Estimates for next year I have provided for an increase in spending.

Deputy Joan Collins: Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins A Cheann Comhairle, I would like my proposal to be put to a vote.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Last week, on the morning of the budget, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin Deputies-----

Deputy Róisín Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall This is an abuse of the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett This is Committee Stage and the Minister is entitled as the Deputy is to speak.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I do not think members of the Technical Group were there, but Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin Deputies supported an increase of €680 million in a Supplementary Estimate to increase the overall social welfare spend in 2012 to fund payments made to persons such as carers. I thanked Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin for supporting the Estimate. The Estimate for next year means that the spend will increase. I want Deputy Michael Lowry, when he makes comments about the economy in general, to take into account the fact that a sum of €20.2 billion will be spent. We support programmes in all Departments. It will be one of the highest amounts spent in Europe.

Deputy John Halligan: Information on John Halligan Zoom on John Halligan We have heard all of this already. Show us some decency and let us vote on the section. The Minister said all of this last night and is saying it all again now.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I am entitled to respond to Deputy Michael Lowry.

Deputy John Halligan: Information on John Halligan Zoom on John Halligan The Minister is using up the time allocated for this debate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Please, Deputy. This is Committee Stage and Members are entitled to come in and out. That is the rule of the House and it applies to the Minister as well as to every other Member. If the Minister wishes to reply, I am obliged to allow her to do so. Has she finished?

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Yes.


Last Updated: 06/05/2020 11:58:04 First Page Previous Page Page of 73 Next Page Last Page