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Burton, Joan

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill 2012 [Seanad]: Second and Subsequent Stages

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."More Button

I realise that we four Deputies are probably alone in the Dáil at this point but as Christmas is coming, it is an appropriate time to debate a Bill which proposes to extend the celebration of marri...More Button

I will outline the context for the Bill. The Civil Registration Act 2004 provides for the notification, registration and solemnisation of marriage. Only the Health Service Executive and religio...More Button

In Ireland marriage and the family unit are central to the Constitution and part of our social fabric. When two people make a public commitment to each other by way of marriage, it is a cause of...More Button

I propose to offer some general observations on the rationale and general principles informing the content of this amending legislation and then proceed to summarise the provisions of the Bill. ...More Button

Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill 2012 [Seanad]: Second and Subsequent Stages (Continued)

The main provisions of the Bill concerning marriage are to provide for common preliminaries and a single set of documentation for all marriages; the introduction of the marriage registration form, ...More Button

Section 51 provides that a marriage may be legally solemnised only by a registered solemniser. Section 53 provides for the establishment of a register of solemnisers. Section 54 provides that a...More Button

It is clear that many of our citizens wish to celebrate their commitment to each other through a non-religious marriage ceremony. Deputies will be interested to learn that of the 19,828 marriage...More Button

This Bill will provide that valid marriages can be performed by bodies that fulfil the criteria of a secular body, as laid down in the legislation, reflecting the varied belief systems in a moder...More Button

The body must be in existence for at least five years, be an organised group of people who have secular, ethical and humanist beliefs in common, have a minimum of 50 people and meet on a regular ...More Button

The bodies will be required to meet the criteria on a continuous basis and will be obliged to inform An tArd-Chláraitheoir - the Registrar General - if they cease to do so. In the event of a bo...More Button

In amending the Civil Registration Act 2004 the Bill adds in the concept of a "secular body" to those sections that had previously provided for a religious body.More Button

I propose to summarise the main provisions of the Bill and in doing so, I acknowledge the work done on the Bill by the Upper House and my party colleague, Senator Ivana Bacik. Many religious bod...More Button

Section 2 amends section 45 of the principal Act and inserts and modifies definitions in the principal Act to provide for the broadening of the type of bodies which can apply to have a member add...More Button

Section 45 provides for the definitions used in Part 6 of the Civil Registration Act 2004, which relates to the amendment of the law relating to marriages. At present, this section only provides...More Button

Section 3 amends section 45 and sets out the interpretation of the definition of the term "secular body" for the purposes of the Bill. For the purposes of this Part, a body shall be a secular bo...More Button

In addition, this section provides for a list of bodies which are deemed not to be secular bodies for the purposes of this Part. These are as follows: a political party or a body that promotes a...More Button

Section 4 provides for the amendment of section 51 of the principal Act to include solemnisers from secular bodies in the requirements to be met for a valid solemnisation of marriage. Section 51...More Button

Section 5 provides for the amendment of section 53(4) of the principal Act to allow the Registrar General to refuse to register a person if he or she considers that the body concerned is not a se...More Button

Section 53 provides for the establishment of a register of solemnisers to be maintained by An tArd-Chláraitheoir. The register holds the names of all solemnisers who have been approved to conduc...More Button

Section 6 provides for the amendment of section 54 of the principal Act to include secular bodies in the categories of bodies that may apply for registration of persons on the register of solemni...More Button

  Section 7 provides for the amendment of section 55 of the principal Act to include the cessation of a body as a religious or secular body as a reason the registration of a person may be...More Button

None of us is that perfect.More Button

I thank all the Deputies who so warmly supported the Bill. Earlier I acknowledged the contribution of the Seanad on this Bill, specifically the work done by my colleague in the Seanad, Senator Iva...More Button

I agree with Deputy Stagg that sometimes the best can be the enemy of the good. In the Seanad, Senator Cullinane supported the Bill very strongly but in telling us about the organisations that a...More Button

This legislation reflects developments in wider Irish society. The only regret I have about this Bill is it does not allow the celebration, either by religious or humanists, of the marriage of t...More Button

Overall, this is a reflection of how Ireland has changed. It is also a reflection of what happens in other countries, as a number of Deputies pointed out, particularly in a country like Scotland...More Button

The question was asked why secular bodies are required to fulfil more criteria than religious bodies. The purpose of the Bill is to amend the provisions of the Civil Registration Act 2004 and th...More Button

  Bill reported without amendment, received for final consideration and passed.More Button

National Internship Scheme Numbers

Was asked: her plans to extend the internship programme for current participants from nine months to 18 months; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme, provides internship opportunities of either 6 or 9 months for unemployed individuals in organisations in the private, public and community voluntary secto...More Button

The JobBridge Scheme has made significant progress to-date since it came into operation on the 1st July 2011. 13,049 internships have commenced to date with 5,612 participants currently on an in...More Button

Given that, in the past, some labour market programmes have been seen as having insignificant or even negative impacts on employment probabilities, this suggests JobBridge is an appropriate labou...More Button

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath was classified as an adult dependant, but who in fact could have afforded a social welfare payment in their own right is not allowed to pa...More Button

The eligibility to access the National Internship Scheme is based on the overall Labour Market policy objective of ensuring a pathway to appropriate employment, training and education opportunities...More Button

In pursuit of this objective, it has been decided that eligibility for the scheme should be targeted at those in receipt of a qualifying claim (Jobseekers Allowance/Jobseekers Benefit/One Parent ...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that the person concerned has never made a claim for a Job Seeker's payment. The person concerned was classified as an adult dependant by virtue of the fact that thei...More Button

Social Insurance Payments

Was asked: the estimated number of workers here who will be affected in 2013 by the removal of the weekly PRSI allowance from full rate and modified rate PRSI contributions.More Button

Where an employee’s weekly earnings exceed €352 per week, he or she is liable to pay PRSI at 4% on all income over the weekly PRSI Free Allowance of €127. For civil and public sector employees pay...More Button

  Questions Nos. 140 and 141 withdrawn.More Button

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Was asked: the position regarding a domiciliary care application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County LimerickMore Button

An application for domiciliary care allowance (DCA) was received on the 30th November 2012. This application has been forwarded to one of the Department’s Medical Assessors for their medical opini...More Button

Was asked: if a domiciliary care allowance will be approved in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny as a matter of urgency.More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an oral hearing of the appeal of the person concerned took place on 17th December 2012 and the Appeals Officer is now consider...More Button

Disability Allowance Appeals

Was asked: the reason a file in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal was requested by the appeals office in August 2012 regarding an appeal for disability allowance has still not been sent...More Button

The person concerned applied for disability allowance on 8 November 2011. The application, based upon the evidence provided, was refused on the ground that the person in question was not medically ...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office advised the department on 24 August 2012 that the person had appealed this decision and had submitted additional medical evidence in support of the appeal. Thi...More Button

Was asked: if she will expedite an application for a social welfare appeal hearing of the refusal of an application for disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and ...More Button

Was asked: if she will expedite an application for a social welfare appeal of a refusal of an application for disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 161 and 163 together.

  The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on ...More Button

Money Advice and Budgeting Service Issues

Was asked: if she will urgently proceed with opening the proposed Money Advice and Budgeting Service office in Killarney to provide reasonable access on a geographical basis to all of County Kerry to facilita...More Button

The Money Advice & Budgeting Service (MABS), under the aegis of the Citizens Information Board, has an office in Tralee, which serves all of County Kerry. MABS outreach services are also currently...More Button

Plans to open a shared office for MABS, National Advocacy Service and the Citizens Information Services in Killarney town are at an advanced stage of development and it is anticipated that the se...More Button

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Was asked: the position regarding the review of an appeal for invalidity pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 13th September 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the a...More Button

Was asked: when a determination will be made in regard to an appeal for an invalidity pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 9th November 2012, who will make a summary decision on ...More Button

Was asked: if she will provide an update on an appeal for invalidity pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Longford; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned is currently in receipt of illness benefit from this Department. Invalidity pension is a payment for people who are permanently incapable of work because of illness or incapac...More Button

This department received a claim for invalidity pension for the person concerned on 7 November 2011. The claim was refused by a deciding officer on the ground that the person in question was not...More Button

The person concerned subsequently submitted further medical evidence in support of her claim. This evidence has been forwarded to a different medical assessor for evaluation and a decision will ...More Button

Disability Allowance Applications

Was asked: if she will expedite an application for disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

An application for disability allowance was received from the person concerned on the 26 October 2012. The application is with a deciding officer for examination and decision. Once decided, the pe...More Button

Jobseeker's Benefit Applications

Was asked: if her reform plans would make allowances for a situation (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Social welfare legislation provides that a person must satisfy the conditions of being available for and genuinely seeking work in order to be entitled to jobseeker’s benefit. Any person who fails...More Button

Part-time fire-fighters are entitled to a jobseeker’s benefit payment in respect of days that they are engaged in fire-fighting or training. They are, however, required to satisfy the statutory ...More Button

In this regard social welfare regulations provide that every claimant shall furnish such certificates, documents, information and evidence as may be required by an officer of the Minister, for th...More Button

My Department is currently examining the position of these workers vis-à-vis the jobseeker’s schemes and the unusual circumstances of retained fire brigade personnel. As part of this process offi...More Button

  Question No. 149 withdrawn.More Button

Social Welfare Code Review

Was asked: the problems that would be encountered in means testing all social welfare payments; the steps she is taking to overcome these problems and when we may expect a means tested system of payments.More Button

I understand that the Deputy is referring to the extension of means testing to all social welfare payments, including social insurance benefits and pensions. The primary component of the Irish sys...More Button

Similar systems exist across the EU, usually with highly comprehensive benefits that are often pay-related. Social insurance systems are generally based on the ‘contributory principle’ (contribu...More Button

The Irish social insurance system is now relatively comprehensive following the extension of coverage over the period 1988 to 1995 to the self-employed, part-time workers and new civil and public...More Button

In general, the social insurance system maintains a relationship between labour force status, earnings from work, contributions made and, finally, entitlement to benefits in the event of certain ...More Button

In addition, there are a range of other payments made on a non-means tested basis, such as child benefit, household benefits package and the respite care grant. Budget 2013 did not extend means ...More Button

Any consideration of means testing all payments made by the Department would have to have regard to a wide range of factors including the significant administrative resources which would be requi...More Button

Child Benefit Payments

Was asked: if she will address the anomaly whereby both parents who have legal joint custody of children are not entitled to an equal proportion of child related benefits and that the means testing process, w...More Button

The Department of Social Protection administers a wide range of payments through which it provides supports to families including those with children. I understand that the main payments in regard ...More Button

Child benefit is a universal payment made in respect of the care of children. Reflecting changes to the payment and its precursor (the children’s allowance payment) in the 1970s and 1980s, socia...More Button

Qualified child increases (QCIs) are paid as supplements to weekly social welfare benefit and assistance payments to reflect the need for greater incomes among benefit-dependent households with d...More Button

From this it can be seen that the main principle underlying payment arrangements is that of where the normal residence of the child is, rather than formal arrangements around custody. Decisions ...More Button

If the Deputy wishes to have a particular case considered in further detail and whether an anomalous situation exists, he can arrange to have the details brought to the attention of my Department...More Button

Family Income Supplement Application Numbers

Was asked: the number of applications for family income supplement that were received by her Department before 5 November 2012 that are not yet processed; the timescale for concluding these cases; and if she ...More Button

The Department is committed to providing a quality service to all its customers. This includes ensuring that applications are processed and that decisions on entitlement are made as quickly as poss...More Button

FIS claims, both new and renewal, received on or after the 5th November 2012 are currently being processed on receipt. On 2 November 2012 there were 7,390 (approx.) new FIS applications and 7,810 ...More Button

An in-depth Business Process Improvement (BPI) project has recently been completed for the FIS scheme. This project focused on optimising output, improving customer service and the elimination o...More Button

The outcome of this review is a detailed plan outlining the process required to manage both the continuous weekly intake and backlog claims clearance. This plan sees the current weekly new claim ...More Button

The team including additional temporary resources has been identified and is already assigned and working on the backlog claims. In order to reduce the time it will take to eliminate the backlog,...More Button

It is expected that the backlog will be fully eliminated by the end of March 2013. Claims which are approved by the backlog team will be backdated to the date of claim or the date of expiry of th...More Button

  Question No. 154 withdrawn.More Button

Carer's Allowance Applications

Was asked: the position regarding carer's allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick.More Button

I confirm that the department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question on the 9th March 2012. The application is with a deciding officer for a decision. Once proce...More Button

Back to Education Allowance Appeals

Was asked: if arrears in respect of back to education or one parent family allowance is warranted for the period February to October 2012 in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if s...More Button

A review of this case will be undertaken and the person concerned will be informed of the outcome on completion of the review.More Button

Disability Allowance Eligibility

Was asked: the extent to which entitlement to partial sick benefit is likely to be affected after 9 January 2013 when entitlement expires in the case a person (details supplied) in County Laois; if they will ...More Button

The person concerned made an application for partial capacity benefit on 1st October 2012. They will be notified of the decision of this application on 21st  &n...More Button

Rent Supplement Scheme Applications

Was asked: the level of rent allowance payable in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned was sent a request for further information on the 18th   September 2012 in relation to a matter that was brought to our attention by the landlord. The...More Button

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Was asked: if she will expedite an application for a social welfare appeal hearing of the refusal of an application for carer's allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if ...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 3rd October 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the appe...More Button

  Question No. 163 answered with Question No. 161.More Button

Rural Social Scheme Applications

Was asked: the number of participants on the rural social scheme broken down on an integrated company basis; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of participants on the rural social scheme broken down by county; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 164 and 165 together.

  The rural social scheme currently provides work opportunities for around 2,600 participants and 130 supervisory staff. O...More Button

Social Welfare Schemes Administration

Was asked: the number of applications on hand, under each social welfare scheme, that have not been decided and were made more than three months ago; the reason for the delay in processing applications; and i...More Button

The Department is committed to ensuring that claims are processed as expeditiously as possible. Processing times vary across schemes, depending on the differing qualification criteria. Schemes tha...More Button

Social Welfare Schemes Appeals

Was asked: the number of appeals on hand in the appeals office for more than three months; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The number of appeals on hands for more than three months in the Social Welfare Appeals Office at 18th December 2012, is 13,232. A breakdown of the current status of these appeals ...More Button