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Hide details for Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Bill 2020Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Bill 2020
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27/03/2020 [Bills] I welcome the Minister for Finance and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Donohoe, to the House.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [428]
27/03/2020 [Bills] SECTION 1Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment No. 1 is in the names of Senators Ardagh, Clifford-Lee and Horkan.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [428]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 1:
In page 6, lines 24 and 25, to delete “such day as the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government may by order appoint” and substitute “the 30th day of March 2020”.
I will not labour the point but this amendment seeks to give clarity that the commencement dat...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [428]
27/03/2020 [Bills] The proposed amendment relates to section 1(2)(a) of the Bill, which is the commencement provision for Part 3 of the Bill and relates to planning and building control matters. The amendment seeks to control the Bill so that rather than the emergency provision being commenced by order of the...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [428]
27/03/2020 [Bills] This is because our building and planning control systems are still functioning and carrying out their statutory duties, as they will be on Monday. This is despite Covid-19-related work practices, including social distancing, naturally having an effect on local authority working arrangement...Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I thank the Minister for that explanation. It does bring clarity and I wanted that clarity put on the record of the House. I will not be pressing the amendment.[Clifford-Lee, Lorraine]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [428]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 2 to 4, inclusive, are out of order as they are not relevant to the subject matter of the Bill.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [428]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 2 to 4, inclusive, not moved.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Section 1 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Sections 2 and 3 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] SECTION 4Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 5 and 9 are related and may be discussed together by agreement.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [429]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 5:
In page 7, line 32, to delete “Health, and” and substitute the following:
“Health,
(b) subject to a vote of approval by both Houses of the Oireachtas, and”.
I am keen to put our concerns relating to flexibility on the record of the House. Perhaps the Minister will ex...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [429]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I can tell the Senator that during normal times this is exactly the kind of provision that should be contained in legislation. I will draw an analogy to the rainy day fund, which is meant for use at times of great risk. The operation of the rainy day fund has the kind of steps and checks b...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [429]
27/03/2020 [Bills] It is a draconian measure, as the Minister has acknowledged. I know we are in an emergency situation but as we approach the three-month lapsing period I imagine we would have sufficient notice to facilitate both Houses being recalled at short notice to do the necessary work. I would be...[...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [429]
27/03/2020 [Bills] The Seanad is asked that the Bill stay as it is because of the speed at which it may be necessary to change public health guidance. It is entirely feasible that a decision could be taken in a morning, for example, that needs to be implemented that afternoon. This is why authority in this r...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [429]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I appreciate the Minister's explanation on that. I hope the Executive would act in good faith and only use the legislation in extreme emergencies, as the Minister has outlined, where a decision needs to be made in a matter of hours, not days. On that basis I withdraw the amendment.[Cliffor...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [430]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 6 to 8, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together by agreement.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [430]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 6:
In page 8, to delete lines 3 to 6 and substitute the following:
“(i) the nature and potential impact of Covid-19 on individuals, society and the State,
(ii) the capacity of the State to respond to the risk to public health,
(iii) the need to restrict the movement of p...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [430]
27/03/2020 [Bills] When we come out of this, there will be other very serious consequences. We certainly do not want to reach a point where we see large-scale evictions or a number of stayed evictions all being enacted at the same time creating a different and related kind of health crisis.
That is the spir...
Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Before I bring in Senator Ruane, I pass on my own condolences on the loss of her granny this week. I am very sorry about that.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [431]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I thank the Acting Chairman and welcome the Minister. It is probably the first time we have had the Minister, Deputy Donohoe, in here. Am I wrong?[Ruane, Lynn]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [431]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am afraid Senator Ruane is. That will be, I am sure, the only time the Senator will be wrong.[Donohoe, Paschal]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [431]
27/03/2020 [Bills] The Minister is very welcome.[Ruane, Lynn]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [431]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Is it the Trinity graduates fan club today?[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [431]
27/03/2020 [Bills] It is the first time I have had the pleasure of an exchange with the Minister in the Chamber, unfortunately, under these circumstances.
My amendment No. 7 is similar to Senator Higgins's amendment No. 6. I welcome the Bill and the provisions relating to housing which implement a ban on ev...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [431]
27/03/2020 [Bills] There has been no provision so far with regard to renters who need to access rent allowance. If this is not introduced in the next week or so, this provision in terms of strengthening the conditions for eviction will be very much needed because people will go into rent arrears if they canno...Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I thank Senators Higgins and Ruane for the amendments they put forward and offer my condolences to Senator Ruane on the loss of a member of her family. At times like this, we all feel loss in terms of being able to be with our families in different ways due to this emergency. That is a fac...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [432]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I thank the Minister for his response. I know he addressed similar issues in the Dáil. He spoke about when we emerge from this. It is important that when we do, we reflect in terms of what we have just heard about the idea of anything being balanced against the common good - the common go...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [433]
27/03/2020 [Bills] We have seen the businesses that have put the welfare of their community, staff, society and public health ahead of profit. We have seen those who have done that, and we have seen those that have not made that choice. The common good is our remit, effectively, as representatives of the pub...Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I remind Members that the cut off is 3.05 p.m. for amendment No. 25. We are dealing with amendments Nos. 6 to 8.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [434]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I will be brief. I wish to speak about rents, planning and housing. I welcome the Minister for Finance, Deputy Donohoe.[Mulherin, Michelle]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [434]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Does the Senator have something to say that is relevant to the debate?[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [434]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Yes, I believe so. I will just continue and you can advise me, Acting Chairman. It is brief.[Mulherin, Michelle]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [434]
27/03/2020 [Bills] If Senator Mulherin has something to say, she should say it.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [434]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I want to ask the Minister about Government commitments on the capital and revenue side and contributions being made to the not-for-profit voluntary housing sector. Will they continue during this crisis because they obviously play an important and growing role in the provision of social and...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [434]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Senator Mulherin has made quite good points but they relate to a different section. It means she will not have to make them again later.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [434]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I ask the Minister to bear with me, as I want to make sure I understand correctly what is proposed.[Ruane, Lynn]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [434]
27/03/2020 [Bills] We talk about having the provisions in for public health and that they are the only provisions we can use at this time for balancing this out against property rights over a period. I am struggling to understand when a matter is public health and when it is not. If we are to look at what pu...Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] The Senator is making valid points but we are dealing with section 4, an extension of the emergency period.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [435]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I was speaking to the amendment.[Ruane, Lynn]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [435]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Entitlements to remain in an occupied dwelling during the emergency period and so forth are in section 8 which is further on.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [435]
27/03/2020 [Bills] It is in relation to the criteria. We are setting out the criteria as public health.[Ruane, Lynn]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [435]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I will let the Senator make the point. However, we need to try to stick to the sections.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [435]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I thank Senators Higgins, Mulherin and Ruane for their questions.
We are going to have to look at what our economic and social architecture is going to be after Covid-19. While we will go back to a normal, that normal will not be the one we have just left. That is certain. There are goi...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [435]
27/03/2020 [Bills] It appears that a crisis that is, in fact, an emergency is required to trigger the ability to suspend practices such as the collection of rent and eviction. This relates to the point made by Senator Higgins, that is, that the balancing of private rights and the public interest is always wor...Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I will withdraw the amendment in the context of our co-operation but I anticipate we will be returning to this matter.[Higgins, Alice-Mary]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [436]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 7:
In page 8, between lines 6 and 7, to insert the following:
"(iv) the nature and potential impact of Covid-19 on individuals, society and the State,
(v) the capacity of the State to respond to the risk to public health posed by the spread of Covid-19,
(vi) the polic...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [436]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment put and declared lost.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 8:
In page 8, between lines 6 and 7, to insert the following:
"(iv) the policies and objectives of the Government to protect the health and welfare of members of the public, and
(v) the role of adequate housing in protecting public safety,".[Higgins, Alice-Mary]
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [436]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment put and declared lost.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment No. 9 not moved.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Section 4 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] SECTION 5Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 10 to 14, inclusive, and No. 22 are related and may be discussed together, by agreement. Is that agreed? Agreed.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [436]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 10:
In page 8, to delete lines 16 to 18.
This legislation will allow people who may have been served a notice to quit during the Covid-19 emergency period to remain in their homes for the duration of this public health crisis, which is welcome. Within these provisions...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [436]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I want to address amendment No. 22. I welcome the Minister. Sinn Féin tabled this amendment yesterday but in the meantime, an amendment from our colleagues in People Before Profit was passed, which we supported. It was amendment No. 7. Does that amendment have legal effect to protect peo...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [437]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I thank Senators Ruane and Gavan. I will deal with the amendments first before I respond to Senator Gavan's question. I propose not to accept the amendments tabled. The reason is that section 5(1) provides that a landlord cannot serve a notice of termination during the Covid-19 emergency ...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [437]
27/03/2020 [Bills] How do we know what a landlord's intention was before the Covid-19 emergency? We will have significant numbers of landlords saying that it was always their intention not to continue the lease after a time. What type of protections will we have such that we do not just see another loophole ...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [437]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I thank the Minister for the clarification. It is clearly not clear just yet. Our concern is that there may be people under licence or with informal rent-a-room arrangements who are not covered by this protection.[Gavan, Paul]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [438]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am sure it is the same across the country, but in our constituency office in Limerick one often meets people whose marriages have broken up later in life who are in informal arrangements. Can the Minister give any assurance that these people are covered by the legislation?Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I have just realised that an amendment of mine is included in this grouping. Again, we have heard very well made points from Senators Gavan and Ruane. With regard to amendment No. 13, will the Minister confirm that the obligations of landlords continue? A point was made of stating in the ...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [438]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I will speak to my own amendment, No. 14. It refers to tenants who are in licence agreements. These are primarily people who rent a room in a property owner's home under the rent-a-room scheme. They also needed to be protected from eviction during this period.
I support the point Senato...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [438]
27/03/2020 [Bills] It is not clear to me whether this is covered by the amendments Deputy Bríd Smith successfully made to the Bill last night but many students who are renting accommodation, along with many others, are involved with the rent-a-room scheme. I have heard serious concern expressed in this regard...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [438]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I will respond to the different points that have been put to me. On Senator Ruane's point, if we discover any loopholes in the drafting of this legislation which need to be addressed, the Minister, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, and the Government will act on them, notwithstanding the limitations we...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [439]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Senator Higgins asked a question about the obligations of landlords. The obligations of landlords are unchanged across this period. My understanding is that if they are giving notice of arrears, they must give a 28-day response period across that time and if they are seeking to give notice...Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment put and declared lost.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 11:
In page 9, to delete lines 3 and 4.[Ruane, Lynn]
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [439]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment put and declared lost.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Section 5 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Section 6 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] SECTION 7Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Question proposed: "That section 7 stand part of the Bill."Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] This section would ensure that proceedings of the Tenancy Tribunal, which makes judgments on disputes between landlords and tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act, would be held in private for the duration of the crisis. I wish to hear the Government's reason for such a move. If there...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [440]
27/03/2020 [Bills] The only rationale for putting this forward is the risk of the spread of Covid-19 during such hearings. There is no intention to make this the norm. It is only being done to reduce the risk to those who would be involved in the hearing and would only be used in those circumstances.[Donohoe...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [440]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am happy to withdraw my opposition to the section.[Ruane, Lynn]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [440]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Question put and agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] SECTION 8Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 12:
In page 10, to delete lines 12 and 13.[Ruane, Lynn]
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [440]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment put and declared lost.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment No. 13 not moved.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I was not sure whether the Minister intended to accept my amendment, No. 14, given that he spoke about people under the rent-a-room scheme being considered to be tenants for the duration of the period.[Clifford-Lee, Lorraine]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [440]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Regrettably, I will not accept the Senator's amendment, purely because we do not believe that it is legally necessary. Section 3 provides for tenants to be construed to include licensees in student accommodation.[Donohoe, Paschal]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [440]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Many workers live in licensed accommodation within landlords' houses, which the amendment sought to address. I do not wish to delay the passage of the legislation, although I am disappointed that the Minister did not accept it.[Clifford-Lee, Lorraine]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [440]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment No. 14 not moved.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Section 8 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] NEW SECTIONVol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 15:
In page 10, between lines 13 and 14, to insert the following:
“PART 3
AMENDMENT OF HOUSING (MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) ACT 1992
Prohibition of removal of current temporary dwellings from certain locations
9. Section 10 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [440]
27/03/2020 [Bills] For the avoidance of doubt, all Travellers currently resident at any location should not be evicted during this crisis except where movement is required to ameliorate hardship or to provide protection, subject to consultation with the Travellers involved. The intention is that members of th...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [441]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am sorry to interrupt. The time permitted for the debate having expired, I am required to put the following question in accordance with the order of the Seanad of this day: "That amendment No. 15 is hereby negatived in committee and that section 9 is hereby agreed to in committee."[Horkan...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [441]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I request that the Minister would provide the rest of his speech in writing, which would be of great assistance. I thank him for clarifying those points.[Higgins, Alice-Mary]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [441]
27/03/2020 [Bills] He will do that. I apologise. That is the Order of Business and I am not in a position to exercise any discretion.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [441]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Question put and declared carried.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] SECTION 10Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 26 to 30, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together, by agreement. Is that agreed? Agreed.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [442]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 26:
In page 13, line 34, to delete “application.”.” and substitute the following:
“application.
(10) A person living in direct provision who has qualified and practiced as a dentist outside of this jurisdiction may also apply for registration.”.”.
We put forward these....
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [442]
27/03/2020 [Bills] The regulation of the right to work comes under regulation 11 of the European Communities regulations of 2018. We are not aware of a definitive timeline for the completion of the review. However, it is under way and we hope it will be completed as soon as possible.
Public safety demands ...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [442]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am obviously disappointed. How long will it take to go through the regulators? Many things are going to be further delayed because of Covid-19. Perhaps the Minister could push the regulators a little, given it is healthcare professionals we are discussing and that is what we need. It i...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [442]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I have some points for later regarding some of the amendments. I take on board the need for us, in here, as well as medics and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, NMBI, to recognise those who have been struck off registers due to gross professional misconduct. We need to ensure thi...Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Does Senator Higgins wish to contribute?[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [443]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I will be brief. I compliment Senator Devine on these amendments. I raised this issue last week, and I join with her in urging the Minister to ensure this is dealt with through regulation and that a process is fast-tracked. There are many skilled individuals and talented people in our sys...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [443]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I thank the Senators for raising this issue. I understand the point being made. I am also sure the Senators can understand, from our point of view, that we want to ensure that those health professionals involved in the giving of care at a difficult time have the qualifications needed. I r...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [443]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Section 10 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment No. 27 not moved.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Section 11 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] SECTION 12Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 28:
In page 17, line 10, to delete “application.”.” and substitute the following:
“application.
(9) A person living in direct provision who has qualified and practiced as a pharmacist outside of this jurisdiction may also apply for registration.”.”.[Devine, Máire]
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [443]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Section 12 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] SECTION 13Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 29:
In page 18, line 34, to delete “application.” and substitute the following:
“application.
(9) A person living in direct provision who has qualified and practiced as a medical practitioner outside of this jurisdiction may also apply for registration.”.”.[Devine, Máir...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [444]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Section 13 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] SECTION 14Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 30:
In page 21, line 5, to delete “application.”.” and substitute the following:
“application.
(9) A person living in direct provision who has qualified and practiced as a nurse or midwife outside of this jurisdiction may also apply for registration.”.”.[Devine, Máire...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [444]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment put and declared lost.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Section 14 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] NEW SECTIONVol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 31:
In page 21, between lines 5 and 6, to insert the following:
“Amendment of Nurses and Midwives Act 2011
15. The Nurses and Midwives Act 2011 is amended by the insertion of the following new section after section 107:
“108. (1) A nurse or midwife resident in the State ...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [444]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I welcome the Tánaiste back to the House. This amendment seeks to streamline the registration process for nurses and midwives who are resident here in Ireland and who have qualified, trained and worked in the UK. Many people would fall into that category so we want to streamline this proce...Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] The HSE and the national action plan have identified retired healthcare professionals and those who no longer work in the public health system as a key cohort who can be mobilised to assist during this emergency. Some of these persons are members of the regulated professions who have let th...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [446]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I accept the Minister's explanation. I am anxious that these people, who have trained under a similar regime to nurses and midwives who have trained in Ireland, would be accepted back. Hopefully the Minister for Health can work with the registration board to make sure these people who are....Vol-269 Book-8 Page [447]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I note and welcome this lengthy amendment. I am partially reassured by the Minister's response. It is an onerous registration process. Perhaps after this emergency when we come through the other side of it, we can reflect that a lot of what we do is quite onerous and a bit plodding and it...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [447]
27/03/2020 [Bills] We need to look at that. I hope for those based in the UK it will not be three months. I salute those in the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland and the Trojan work they have done in getting over 500 nurses reregistered. They are getting it down to a matter of a week or a week and a ha...Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] You were right, Senator Devine, but I decided to let you away with it in the spirit of co-operation.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [447]
27/03/2020 [Bills] It was a point of order or something like that.[Devine, Máire]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [447]
27/03/2020 [Bills] It definitely was not. Senator Reilly wants to come in.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [447]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I welcome the Minster to the House again. I welcome everything in this section. It is crucial that we get back as many people as possible to help us during this crisis. It is a fantastic reflection on the diaspora that they are prepared to come back and help. The same applies to many of ...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [447]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I let you stray a moment ago, Senator. We are only dealing with amendment No. 31 and section 15 at the moment.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [448]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I shall leave it at that.[Reilly, James]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [448]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I already gave you a fair bit of latitude on the point about construction.
Senator Devine, you wanted to come back in briefly on amendment No. 31.[Horkan, Gerry]
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [448]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I cannot really see the wording anywhere. Is there wording to provide that while we welcome everyone back and hope to make getting back to the frontline as smooth and as easy as possible, there are those who have been struck off for professional misconduct. How do we ensure that the safety...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [448]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Senator Reilly got away with it but I am not letting two people do it. The point has been well made already.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [448]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I will be equally brief - I am not making many contributions today. This is an important section and I welcome it because it gets healthcare workers back in quickly. I understand the good intentions of the amendments but I can see the constraints too.
Several organisations are already on...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [448]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Those shops are now closed and that funding source is gone. The Tánaiste cannot possibly deal with everything that is coming at him quickly here, and I do not expect a response to this now, but I would be very grateful if he considered how section 39 organisations are funded during this per...Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] While that contribution is not related to this amendment it is a very good point to make. Will the Tánaiste respond to the points raised by Senators?[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [449]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I will, and I will also respond to some of the other points when I sum up. I can assure Senator Reilly that the State has made no decision at any point that would allow a building site that is not safe for people who are working on it to continue to stay open. We want to ensure that we can...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [449]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Senator Clifford-Lee indicated she might withdraw the amendment.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [449]
27/03/2020 [Bills] On the basis of the Minister's statements on the registration of UK returnees, I will withdraw the amendment.[Clifford-Lee, Lorraine]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [449]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Section 15 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] SECTION 16Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 32 and 33 are related and may be discussed together, by agreement.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [449]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 32:
In page 21, line 19, after “Covid-19” to insert “having regard for the vindication of the rights of patients while minimising the care burden”.
These amendments, and some following amendments, are linked to the changes to the Mental Health Act 2001. The amendments p...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [449]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Normally I would have quite long responses to some of the amendments but in this case a very clear recommendation from the Department says that the legislation already provides adequate protection on the vindication of rights of patients. I assume the Senator is trying to ensure a belt and ...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [450]
27/03/2020 [Bills] In the interests of expediting the process I will withdraw the amendment.[Clifford-Lee, Lorraine]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [450]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 33:
In page 21, line 27, after “Covid-19” to insert “having regard for the vindication of the rights of
patients while minimising the care burden”.[Clifford-Lee, Lorraine]
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [450]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Question proposed: "That section 16 stand part of the Bill."Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Certain elements of section 16 are disconcerting but it is necessary. I support what the Government is trying to achieve here. It is important though that the chair may seek input from a consultant psychiatrist in cases that require clinical input but where no consultant psychiatrist is av...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [450]
27/03/2020 [Bills] By letting Senator Reilly speak, I am getting funny looks.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [450]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Okay. I will not speak again.[Reilly, James]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [451]
27/03/2020 [Bills] A section entitled "Exigencies of public health emergency" is quite broad but let us not make it too broad.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [451]
27/03/2020 [Bills] On Senator Reilly's point, I agree that under normal circumstances one person should not be in a position to make such draconian decisions but one would hope, similar to the legislation that was passed here last week, that it would never be required. We need to give the powers that be the.....Vol-269 Book-8 Page [451]
27/03/2020 [Bills] The section deals with health and mental health. One of the issues the Government has been clear on is what companies should and should not be doing. I am getting word from people who work in areas, from example, safety deposit companies, where there are closed rooms, only one door in and ...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [451]
27/03/2020 [Bills] To clarify, are we on amendments Nos. 34, 35 and 36?[Coveney, Simon]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [451]
27/03/2020 [Bills] We are dealing with section 16. We have not gone on to the next set of amendments. We need to pass section 16 before we can.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [451]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I do not want to stray into the golfing area but the national sporting bodies are giving good guidance to their members and their members should take that guidance seriously. That is all I will say on it. That is not to say that people should not be able to take exercise, which I accept is...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [451]
27/03/2020 [Bills] They were not speaking to the amendment but they were trying to use the section to speak to whatever they wanted to say and they said it.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [451]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Perhaps I could close it by saying that I am satisfied that section 16 does the job it is intended to do.[Coveney, Simon]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [452]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Question put and agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] SECTION 17Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 34 to 36, inclusive, and Nos. 39 to 41, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together by agreement. Is that agreed? Agreed.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [452]
27/03/2020 [Bills] On a point of order, in my note, I had amendments Nos. 34, 35 and 36 together but I can speak to the others as well. We could separate them if it is easier.[Coveney, Simon]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [452]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am not sure why the Tánaiste's papers are different from the papers I have.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [452]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am in the hands of the Acting Chairman.[Coveney, Simon]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [452]
27/03/2020 [Bills] We have a guillotine at 3.55 p.m anyway so we may as try to deal with as much as we can.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [452]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 34:
In page 22, line 6, after "concerned" to insert ", in person or by remote consultation".
My concern was addressed somewhat in the Dáil but I would like to see it reiterated here. The amendment aims to insert ", in person or by remote consultation". I think the Mini...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [452]
27/03/2020 [Bills] To clarify, we are dealing with amendments Nos. 34 to 36, inclusive, and Nos. 39 to 41, inclusive.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [452]
27/03/2020 [Bills] None of the rest is mine.[Devine, Máire]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [452]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Is anybody else offering? Does Senator Higgins want to come in?[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [452]
27/03/2020 [Bills] There is that same concern around trying to ensure we do everything we can to ensure appropriate advice is taken. The amendments put forward by Senators Clifford-Lee and Devine are very constructive. I am conscious that we may not come to my amendment, which is amendment No. 37, which is a...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [452]
27/03/2020 [Bills] That will be dealt with separately-----[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [452]
27/03/2020 [Bills] The reason I put down amendment No. 37 is that same principle, which is basically that it is important that we endeavour always to try to have the best psychological advice relating to decisions that are rights-based issues on mental health. Rather than look to excuses to bypass that proces...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [452]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I do not disagree at all with that principle. In respect of amendments Nos. 34 to 36, inclusive, this issue was addressed quite extensively in the Dáil last night. The Office of the Attorney General advises that remote-electronic consultation is implicitly included in the Mental Health Act...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [453]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Accordingly, the Attorney General's office advised against including explicit reference to remote or electronic means, as outlined in the amendments, as it may mean that those are excluded from the existing Act when the legislation reverts to the existing measures under section 1(3) of the B...Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Has the Minister dealt with amendments Nos. 39 to 41, inclusive?[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [453]
27/03/2020 [Bills] In response to amendment No. 39, the form of report can be dealt with operationally by the commission and does not need to be set out in legislation. The Attorney General's office advises that remote or electronic consultation is implicitly included in the existing Mental Health Act 2001 an...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [453]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 35:
In page 22, line 12, after “writing” to insert “, in a form provided by the Mental Health Commission,”.
I do not wish to take up the time of the House by speaking about the amendments. I will just move and withdraw them.[Clifford-Lee, Lorraine]
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [453]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 36:
In page 22, line 19, after “writing” to insert “, in a form provided by the Mental Health Commission,”.[Clifford-Lee, Lorraine]
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [453]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Section 17 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Does Senator Conway wish to speak on the section?[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [454]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Yes, I want to just very quickly concur with what the Tánaiste said.[Conway, Martin]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [454]
27/03/2020 [Bills] We had agreed the section but I will allow Senator Conway to speak briefly.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [454]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I indicated before it was agreed, Acting Chairman. The last thing we want to do with this emergency legislation is create unintended consequences. I agree with the Tánaiste's synopsis of it. I am fully aware of situations under the Mental Health Act where teleconferencing was used to assi...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [454]
27/03/2020 [Bills] SECTION 18Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 37:
In page 23, line 21, to delete “subsection.”,” and substitute the following:
“subsection.
(3C) The exemption outlined under subsection (3B), shall not be applicable on more than three consecutive occasions in relation to the same individual.”,”.
The Minister's argum...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [454]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I do not believe my amendment is correctly worded. It focuses on subsection 3B rather than 3A. The point, I hope, is one that the Minister could take up. That involves the importance for persons with mental health concerns to know that there is going to be a period of time that they can p...Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I support the sentiment in the Bill. It is quite shocking that it involves a lawyer or barrister with a legal background while the actual practise of psychiatry or psychology is not taken into account. When the Mental Health Commission and the tribunals were set up, unfortunately, they wen...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [454]
27/03/2020 [Bills] We are dealing with two slightly separate issues.
First is the concern that Senators understandably have that one person is simply making decisions about patients without any other input. That is not what is being proposed.
The note I have regards clinical input. Before making a renewa...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [455]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I want to emphasise the lack of rights for patients in involuntary arrangements prior to the setting up of the Mental Health Commission and tribunal. What Senator Higgins is alluding to is the continual passing on and the rubber-stamping regarding involuntary arrangements. That is what hap...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [455]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I will withdraw the amendment. I thank the Minister for the assurance from the Mental Health Commission.[Higgins, Alice-Mary]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [455]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Section 18 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Section 19 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] SECTION 20Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 38:
In page 24, line 21, after "appointment" to insert the following:
"and one member who shall be either a consultant psychiatrist or a member who is registered at the level of clinical nurse specialist in psychiatry, or above".[Devine, Máire]
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [456]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Section 20 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 39 to 41, inclusive, not moved.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Section 21 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Sections 22 to 26, inclusive, agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] SECTION 27Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 42 to 46, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together, by agreement.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [456]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 42:
In page 26, line 15, after "Minister" to insert ", on the advice of the Defence Forces Chief of Staff".
I will not delay the House on this. What I am trying to say is very clear, that is, that the Minister should act in operational matters only on the advice of the...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [456]
27/03/2020 [Bills] The Senator raised that matter very succinctly on the Order of Business this morning. The Tánaiste already gave the Senator a good reply but I will not interfere. Is the Senator pressing the amendment?[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [456]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I propose to withdraw the amendment because I do not wish to delay the House.[Craughwell, Gerard P.]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [456]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 43:
In page 26, line 16, after "where" to insert ", on the advice of the Defence Forces Chief of Staff,".[Craughwell, Gerard P.]
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [456]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 44:
In page 26, line 19, to delete "in his or her opinion" and substitute "in the opinion of the Defence Forces Chief of Staff".[Craughwell, Gerard P.]
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [457]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 45:
In page 26, line 22, after "may" to insert ", on the advice of the Defence Forces Chief of Staff,".[Craughwell, Gerard P.]
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [457]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 46:
In page 26, line 24, to delete "in his or her opinion" and substitute "in the opinion of the Defence Forces Chief of Staff".[Craughwell, Gerard P.]
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [457]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment No. 47 is out of order.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [457]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 47 and 48 not moved.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Question proposed: "That section 27 stand part of the Bill."Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am glad the Minister is in the House. Amendment No. 47 has been ruled out of order because it would impose a cost on the Exchequer but there are very simple things that need to be done to put the Defence Forces on par with the HSE. The HSE has been able to suspend abatement in pensions. ...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [457]
27/03/2020 [Bills] These are young people. We ask that the military service allowance be paid to those people. They are in front-line, full duty work at this point, the same as any other soldier, naval personnel or anybody in the Air Corps. They are doing full duty. The military service allowance must be p...Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Question put and agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] SECTION 28Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment No. 49 is consequential on amendment No. 56. Amendments Nos. 49 and 56 are related and may be discussed together by agreement. Is that agreed? Agreed.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [458]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 49:
In page 28, to delete lines 19 to 21 and substitute the following:
“ “applicable period” means—
(a) the period of 12 weeks commencing on 26 March 2020, and
(b) such other period (if any) as may be specified by order under subsection (20);”.
Amendments Nos. 49 and 56 ...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [458]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I want to contribute generally on this section. Is that allowed?[Gavan, Paul]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [458]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Not at this stage. When all amendments to this section are dealt with, I will allow the Senator in.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [458]
27/03/2020 [Bills] That is perfect.[Gavan, Paul]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [458]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I thank Senator Horkan for raising this issue. I think the Senator was present in the Chair for the debate that I had with Senator Clifford-Lee earlier. At any other time, the change that the Senator is looking for would already be contained in the legislation. I can imagine very few othe...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [458]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I was listening when I was in the Chair, though the Minister might think I was not. I heard the point he was making. He accepted the rationale for the amendment then and equally for the amendment now. Based on what he is saying and what he contributed earlier, I am happy to withdraw amend...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [458]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 50 to 57, inclusive, not moved.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Question proposed: "That section 28 stand part of the Bill."Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] This section deals with employers and wage subsidies. I want to highlight an issue for the Minister. Is he aware of the crisis in respect of travel agents? Travel agents across the country are facing bankruptcy because they are having to pay refunds to people who have booked holidays but ...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [459]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I thought the Tánaiste clarified that this morning. I am not opening up debate. One person asked to come in on this section. I will now ask the Minister to respond. If I allow Senator Mulherin speak-----[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [459]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I will not be-----[Mulherin, Michelle]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [459]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Did the Senator table an amendment to the section?[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [459]
27/03/2020 [Bills] No.[Mulherin, Michelle]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [459]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Senator Gavan did table an amendment. He did not move it but asked to speak on the section so I made an exception. If I allow Senator Mulherin in, there will be three others wishing to speak. The Senator can go ahead.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [459]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Will the Minister give some assurance with regard to the concerns about the operation of the wage subsidy scheme expressed by Ms Michele O'Boyle, president of the Law Society, on behalf of practising solicitors, by Richard Grogan, an eminent employment law specialist, and by insolvency lawye...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [460]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am sure the Minister is aware of the concerns that have been raised. Perhaps he would clarify it.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I listened in agreement to Senator Gavan. I, too, have been contacted by people in the travel industry. I have also been contacted by people who are caught abroad after they paid for flights, but the flights have not taken place. The situation is that they will get a refund in 12 months. ...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [460]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I ask the Minister to conclude.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [460]
27/03/2020 [Bills] A Chathaoirligh-----[Higgins, Alice-Mary]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [460]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am sorry, but I allowed exceptions and this section is finished. We have 28 minutes to conclude.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [460]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Are we discussing section 28?[Higgins, Alice-Mary]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [460]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I made an exception for Senator Gavan and two other Members intervened. If I keep making exceptions, I will never get the section finished.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [460]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am just asking if it is section 28.[Higgins, Alice-Mary]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [460]
27/03/2020 [Bills] The Minister is concluding on it.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [460]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Yes, but I had indicated I wished to speak on section 28. I am entitled to speak on it, with respect.[Higgins, Alice-Mary]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [460]
27/03/2020 [Bills] You were not here when your amendments arose. They were not moved.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [460]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I understand that. That is why I am speaking to the section.[Higgins, Alice-Mary]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [460]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I have a discretion not to allow you. You must be very brief, Senator.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [460]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I will be very brief. I would not have pressed my amendments; I would have withdrawn them. I hope the Minister will be able to address my concerns. The language used in the Bill is not strong enough. For example, I had sought that the "ability to pay" be used as the language in the provi...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [460]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I thank the Senators. I was not aware of the issue raised by Senators Gavan and Conway, but I will raise it with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. It is just one of the series of issues that are developing now as our economy responds to the public health emergency. The Minist...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [461]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I ask that companies bear with us as we work on this. If nothing else, the Revenue Commissioners will tonight become an institution of the State that pays people, which shows the kind and speed of change that is happening.
On some of the issues that Senator Mulherin referred to, my explic...
Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] In regard to whether an employer would be in a position to pay bonuses or higher wages to different members of the company, one of the definitions we have put in is the inability to pay normal wages. I will simply say that having put in place this scheme and then exited this scheme, hopeful...Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] There was also the issue of pandemic unemployment payment, PUP, for people living in the North.[Gavan, Paul]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [462]
27/03/2020 [Bills] As I understood the issue last night, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection was studying the issue. If the Tánaiste gave the Senator a more up-to-date answer this morning, I am afraid that is information I do not currently have available to me.[Donohoe, Paschal]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [462]
27/03/2020 [Bills] He spoke on the wage subsidy scheme but not the entitlement to PUP to benefit people living in the North who have lost their jobs in the South. That is the specific inquiry I have.[Gavan, Paul]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [462]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am afraid I do not have an answer at the moment. I will have to get the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to answer the Senator directly.[Donohoe, Paschal]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [463]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I would appreciate that.[Gavan, Paul]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [463]
27/03/2020 [Bills] While I do not wish to intervene, to be helpful, what the Tánaiste said this morning was that, irrespective of an address, they would be treated in the same way as if they were living in the Republic. The Senator can get further clarification but that was my understanding of what the Tánais...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [463]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Question put and agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] NEW SECTIONVol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment No. 58 involves a potential charge on the Exchequer and is out of order.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [463]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment No. 58 not moved.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] SECTION 29Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 59 and 60 are related and may be discussed together, by agreement. Is that agreed? Agreed.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [463]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 59:
In page 33, line 35, after “that is” to insert “not more than 3 months”.
The amendment seeks to put to insert an actual timeframe, as opposed to leaving it vague.[Horkan, Gerry]
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [463]
27/03/2020 [Bills] The Minister can understand why we put forward amendment No. 60. I would like to have clarity on this issue. I had queries just this morning and it is a natural concern. People are asking if they will be protected in terms of their ultimate redundancy entitlements. The Minister can see...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [463]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am not in a position to accept amendment No. 59. Senators are aware that the emergency period is defined in this section as ending on 31 May. If there is no need to extend the emergency period beyond that, the Government will not. We merely want to give businesses an opportunity to get ...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [463]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Similarly, short-time work does not break an employee's continuous employment. The Senator may be referring to reckonable service as opposed to continuity of employment for the purpose of the calculation of a redundancy payment. Reckonable service is regarded as a week within continuous...Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Is the amendment being pressed?[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [464]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I do not want to delay this Bill, so I am not pressing the amendment. I am happy to withdraw it.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [464]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 60:
In page 34, to delete line 29 and substitute the following:
“(5) Any time spent laid off or on short time as a result of measures referenced in subsection (1) shall not be considered a break in service for the purposes of calculating redundancy entitlements in the......
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [464]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Is amendment No. 60 being pressed?[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [464]
27/03/2020 [Bills] We will press the amendment, please.[Gavan, Paul]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [464]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment put and declared lost.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Question proposed: "That section 29 stand part of the Bill."Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Who knows what the situation will be with unemployment post the Covid-19 crisis? Those people who have come forward to volunteer in the HSE, the Defence Forces, etc., need to know that their service will be terminated on their request, should they wish to terminate their service, the moment...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [464]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Question put and agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Sections 30 and 31 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] SECTION 32

Senator Gerry Horkan: I move amendment No. 61:
In page 37, line 21, after “specify.” to insert the following:
“An tArd-Chláraitheoir shall produce and publish those requirements within a period of 28 days from the passing of this Act.”.
This amendment seeks clarity regard...
Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] The requirements referred to by the Senator have already been published. They are available on the www.gov.ie website and are already available to the public. I have a copy of them here.[Donohoe, Paschal]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [465]
27/03/2020 [Bills] That is great. I withdraw the amendment.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [465]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Question proposed: "That section 32 stand part of the Bill."Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Is amendment No. 62 in order?[Higgins, Alice-Mary]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [465]
27/03/2020 [Bills] We have not reached amendment No. 62. We are still on section 32 and amendment No. 61.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [465]
27/03/2020 [Bills] That is fine. Regarding the timeframe issue, will the Minister indicate when it is planned that this section will commence? I have been receiving inquiries concerning the commencement of section 9 and changes to planning laws. Will that commence from Monday? When does it come into effect...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [465]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I call Senator Conway and ask him to be brief.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [465]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am aware of a number of outlets that have just commenced doing deliveries that would not necessarily have planning permission to do so. I sincerely hope the spirit of what is being proposed in the legislation would be retrospective for the past couple of weeks as well and that nobody will...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [465]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am not sure if legislation can be made retrospective but I will let the Minister respond to that.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [466]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am talking about the spirit of the legislation.[Conway, Martin]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [466]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am sure the enforcers will be aware of the significance of the Senators' contribution.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [466]
27/03/2020 [Bills] As far as I am aware, the section we are dealing with only concerns the registration of dates and births.[Donohoe, Paschal]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [466]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Members had things to say and they wanted to say them.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [466]
27/03/2020 [Bills] We are wandering a small bit.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [466]
27/03/2020 [Bills] We may well be doing so. Legislation cannot be implemented retrospectively. The particular section will be implemented on Monday and the stakeholder to consult with is the Minister for Health.[Donohoe, Paschal]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [466]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Question put and agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Section 33 agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] NEW SECTIONSVol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 62 and 63 in the names of Senators Ardagh, Clifford-Lee and Horkan have been ruled out of order.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [466]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 62 and 63 not moved.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 64 and 67, inclusive, in the names of Senators Ardagh, Clifford-Lee and Horkan are related and may be discussed together by agreement. Is amendment No. 64 being pressed?[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [466]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 64:
In page 39, after line 35, to insert the following:
“PART 10
AMENDMENTS TO THE LANDLORD AND TENANT (AMENDMENT) ACT 1980
34. The Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act 1980 is amended by the insertion of the following new section after section 88:
“89. (1) In this...[Hor...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [466]
27/03/2020 [Bills] To follow on from what my colleague said about commercial premise leases, I know a number of businesses have come under severe pressure to pay rent when they are closed. The Minister might agree with me and I echo his sentiment that we may be in a different environment for commercial leasin...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [467]
27/03/2020 [Bills] This Government has bent over backwards to try to protect the people but it has gone a stage further and tried to protect the earnings of people as well. It is most disingenuous of any business to try to force staff to come in on reduced hours purely to keep the doors open. I believe the M...Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] The amendment proposes a new section 10 in the Bill. I had my own version of section 10 that related to consents, permits and leases for the Air Pollution Act, the Environmental Protection Agency Act, the Waste Management Act, the Local Government Act and other Acts. I am conscious they ha...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [467]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Yes, amendments Nos. 62 and 63 were ruled out of order because of a charge on the Exchequer potentially.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [468]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I hope the Minister might take the points to the relevant Departments and perhaps consider them. There are a number of ancillary processes that may need tailored pauses and clarification around this time. We do not want to have a large number of other planning staff working on processes or...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [468]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am not infallible, so the Chair has to correct itself. It was not because of a charge on the Exchequer but because amendments Nos. 62 and 63 were not relevant to the subject matter of the Bill.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [468]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Perhaps the Minister can provide clarification.[Higgins, Alice-Mary]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [468]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Senator Conway wishes to comment briefly.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [468]
27/03/2020 [Bills] You are doing a remarkable job in your last day as Cathaoirleach in this session. You do not have to correct yourself often at all.
I suggest that the provision in Senator Horkan's amendment probably will not apply because most of these businesses will be non-essential and would probably ...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [468]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Many people would argue that health food shops are necessary. The final word goes to Senator Horkan.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [468]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I wish to make a point to Senator Conway through the Chair. The whole point of amendment No. 64 is that there are contracts and leases that require shops to stay open. Technically, they would be in breach of their contracts and tenancy agreements. That is the point.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [468]
27/03/2020 [Bills] We will let the Minister answer that.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [469]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I take the point.[Conway, Martin]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [469]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I am afraid I am at something of a disadvantage because several amendments are being addressed that have been ruled out of order.[Donohoe, Paschal]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [469]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment No. 64 is in order. Amendments Nos. 62 and 63 were ruled out of order. I think they started wandering.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [469]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I did not particularly wander. Amendments Nos. 64 and 67 are in order and they were the only two I addressed.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [469]
27/03/2020 [Bills] What does amendment No. 64 refer to?[Donohoe, Paschal]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [469]
27/03/2020 [Bills] It relates to the opening hours and requirements of shops to open under tenancy agreements. Some must open. In large shopping centres there are often requirements that shops must open for a minimum number of hours per week or per day.[Horkan, Gerry]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [469]
27/03/2020 [Bills] The request is that we would disregard that for now so that people cannot then be held by their landlords to be in breach of their agreements because they have been shut by Government instruction, directive or advice. That is all we were trying to do with that amendment.
Amendment No. 67 ...
Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I thank Senator Horkan for those points. The advice I have is that those issues can be dealt with inside existing legislation. The Senator is correct that we want to mitigate harm done to tenants by their following advice issued by the Government. I made the point earlier in the debate th...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [469]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment No. 65 has been ruled out of order.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [469]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment No. 65 not moved.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] I move amendment No. 66:
In page 39, after line 35, to insert the following:
“PART 10
AMENDMENT TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT RATES AND OTHER MATTERS ACT 2019
Amendment of section 4 of Local Government Rates and Other Matters Act 2019
34. The Local Government Rates and Other Matters Act 2019 is amende...
Vol-269 Book-8 Page [469]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I propose not to accept amendment No. 66 because the proposed amendment would not have any effect on rates levied in 2020, as the bulk of provision in local government rates and other matters after 2019 have not yet been commenced, and were never intended to come into effect in 2020. Rates ...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [470]
27/03/2020 [Bills] I thank the Minister for his response. I note the Minister stated, and I assume meant, that it is deferral of a payment as opposed to deletion of an obligation. The Government is saying it does not have to be collected for the moment but the bill will stand, existing into the future. Busi...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [471]
27/03/2020 [Bills] The Senator's interpretation of where we stand is correct. That is a deferral of the bill as opposed to a deletion of the bill. I am obviously aware of the costs that companies will face when they look to reopen. We will have to give that and many other matters consideration for that mome...Vol-269 Book-8 Page [471]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment No. 67 not moved.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment No. 68 in the name of Senator Higgins is out of order.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [471]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendment No. 68 not moved.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Preamble agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] TITLEVol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 69 and 70 in the names of Senators Ardagh, Clifford-Lee and Horkan are out of order.[An Cathaoirleach]Vol-269 Book-8 Page [471]
27/03/2020 [Bills] Amendments Nos. 69 and 70 not moved.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Title agreed to.Vol-269 Book-8
27/03/2020 [Bills] Bill reported without amendment, received for final consideration and passed.Vol-269 Book-8
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