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Order of Business (Resumed)

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Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill

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Order of Business (Resumed)
Snippet Contents:

I welcome the re-establishment of the Brexit working group under the stewardship of the Chairman, Senator Richmond, who has done an excellent job in that capacity. It is an important committee. I call on the Deputy Leader to bring the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation before the House to talk about the interaction she has had with her counterpart in the UK regarding the trade between Ireland and UK. It is probably as important to the UK as it is to Ireland because it has a trade surplus approaching €6 billion with Ireland. It has a lot of companies depending on exports to Ireland as we have companies depending on exports to the UK, with certain sectors very exposed. I would like to hear what the Minister is doing to support Irish exports to the UK market.
The second issue I want to touch on is to call for a debate on the pensions crisis facing all of us. The reality is that many people today who are in their 20s, 30s, 40s and even 50s will have little or no State pension availability by the time they reach pension age as a result of the lack of investment in the pension fund. People are ageing. They are now expected to work longer before they become eligible for a pension. The interdepartmental working group identified that outside of the public sector, 60% of Irish employees have no occupational pension. Therefore, they are dependent solely on the State pension, which will not be there come pension age for these people. This is a crisis. It does not get highlighted because it is not in the electoral cycle, but it will be in the electoral cycle in ten or 15 years when it will be too late to do anything about it. Now is the time. I ask that the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection come before the House, if possible, to discuss the issue.