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Order of Business

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Senator Darragh O'Brien

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

On foot of the Government's own report on pyrite, the stakeholders' report was due with the Minister by the end of September. I do not want this to drag on for months again. I would be most grateful if the Leader would find out whether the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Hogan, has that report and when he will publish the real actions that will help homeowners across the north Leinster region, in particular.
It is crucial that this House has a series of debates prior to the budget in different policy areas and I am glad we will have that. Today, however, it is crucial that we have an urgent debate on the social welfare area, in particular child benefit. Thousands of others across the country and I want to know where the Government stands on child benefit and the retention of the universality of that benefit. Many of our Labour Party colleagues might remember the pre-election poster stating that families needed the Labour Party in government. I suppose that has proved not to be correct. The Labour Party said it would protect child benefit. I listened to the Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Burton, in the past few days and it is not very clear that she will protect child benefit. I propose an amendment to the Order of Business to allow the Minister to clarify for this House and the people whether she intends to see through at least one Labour Party promise. One pre-election promise that should be kept is the retention of universal child benefit, which assists thousands of families across the country. My amendment to the Order of Business proposes that the Minister come to the House to clarify the position on child benefit and confirm that she will see through the Labour Party's commitment to protect child benefit at the current rates and the universal nature of that benefit.
A colleague of mine, Councillor Jim O'Callaghan, raised a very serious issue with me, namely, the removal of funding for a south inner city post with the CYC. The post concerned is that of education officer dealing with adult education and all the voluntary groups dealing with drug abuse and anti-social behaviour. This is in the constituency of the Minister for Education and Skills, Dublin South East. We should schedule a debate on foot of the information I have received from Councillor Jim O’Callaghan. How many other posts across the city of Dublin and the country have been removed by stealth? This individual has worked for 17 years as education officer, on drugs task forces and youth schemes across the south inner city. With one letter from the City of Dublin VEC, that post has been removed. All of us will agree that education for young people and young adults, some of whom may have strayed from their path, is crucially important. To have a situation where in the south inner city, some of which is very deprived, the post of education officer is removed without any consultation is disgraceful. We should have a proper debate on this to see whether these posts have been removed in other areas of the country. Is this not a front-line service? Will the Leader organise a debate with the Minister for Education and Skills, which would be preferable, or a Minister of State in his Department?