Houses of the Oireachtas

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

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Order of Business (Continued)
 Header Item Seanad (No. 2) Bill 2013: First Stage
 Header Item Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement: Referral to Committee
 Header Item Topical Issue Debate
 Header Item Public Sector Pensions Issues

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 805 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 91 Next Page Last Page

  5 o’clock

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae On promised legislation and in light of the 56% reduction in the disabled person's grant by the Government, is it time to consider the enormous amount of money, €622 million this year, that leaves this country in foreign aid?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Hold on, where are we going here?

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae I am coming to it. Surely, charity should begin at home and does the Government have proposals to review or reduce the amount of direct foreign aid leaving the country?

Deputy Michael McCarthy: Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy That is a disgraceful. It is a mean-spirited attack on people who are starving.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Deputy, would you please adhere to the Standing Orders? I must pull you up every day of the week.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae Will the Ceann Comhairle let me finish?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett What are you talking about?

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae Access to the central treasury funds is what I am speaking about. The Ceann Comhairle should give me a chance to finish.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett There is no need for a speech beforehand. Just ask when will the Bill be taken.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae I was introducing myself to it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett You do not need to, as you are here every week.

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan We know the Deputy.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny There is no promised legislation in respect of-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I assure the Deputy we know him by now. There is no promised legislation.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe The Deputy should do that in County Kerry.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny ----- overseas development aid.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae I am addressing the Taoiseach, not the Chief Whip.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe He should do that on the back of a lorry.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett No, the Taoiseach has answered.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae Yes, but the Whip is out of order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Do not mind the Whip for the moment.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae The Ceann Comhairle is right. He has spoken the truth and is a good judge of character.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe On the back of a lorry.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Do not mind him.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Deputy Healy-Rae should not attribute something to me that I did not mean in that statement.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe The Deputy is looking for a headline with gobbledygook.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I call Deputy Neville.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Did the Whip bring that lorry around?

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe This is rubbish.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Is that lorry one from which the Whip fell?

Deputy Dan Neville: Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville For many years, there has been concern in respect of suicide hearings in coroners' courts. The Coroners Bill was first published in 2007. When is it likely to re-enter the Chamber for completion?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I understand the Bill is still on Committee Stage. I must revert to Deputy Neville on this. I recognise the Deputy's experience in this matter, which is an issue of continuing concern. I will revert directly to Deputy Neville on when the Bill might get back in.

Deputy John O'Mahony: Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony I wish to raise two items of legislation further to Deputy Durkan's request, that is, the sale of alcohol Bill and the public health (alcohol) Bill. These Bills provide for warnings on cans and bottles similar to the health warnings on cigarette packets and for the prevention of below-cost selling. As they are important legislative items, can the Taoiseach provide an indication of when they might come before the House?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I do not have a date for Deputy O'Mahony but can confirm the Minister of State, Deputy White, is due to bring recommendations with regard to the sale of alcohol before the Cabinet sub-committee in the near future. He has done a lot of work in this regard.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon Zoom on James Bannon I had wished to raise a similar point on the sale of alcohol Bill, because Ireland has the greatest binge-drinking population in Europe.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Does the Deputy wish to raise the alcohol Bill?

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon Zoom on James Bannon On another item of legislation, when is it proposed to replace the Irish Sports Council and the National Sports Campus Development Authority with the new sport Ireland Bill?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It is due later this year. I will see whether I can get a more accurate read on the extent of work that has been done on it.

Deputy Joe O'Reilly: Information on Joe O'Reilly Zoom on Joe O'Reilly On promised legislation, when is it proposed to take the friendly societies and industrial and provident societies (miscellaneous provisions) Bill? I ask because it will have a positive implication for insurance co-operatives, group water schemes and theatre restoration groups. For example, in my constituency, 18,500 people depend on 28 private group water schemes and it is very important for those people that this legislation goes through.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I can confirm to Deputy O'Reilly that this Bill is bubbling along and I hope it will be published in this session.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan When are the housing (miscellaneous provisions) (No. 1) Bill and the housing (miscellaneous provisions) (No. 2) Bill expected? The residents of Priory Hall have again asked me to appeal to the Taoiseach as to whether he can bring their agony and anguish to an end. On the last court decision, they are now heading into a third Christmas in which families are out of their homes. It is an intolerable situation and I am sure that even when the Taoiseach was on his recent visit to the Greek Prime Minister, he would not have been able to detail to the Taoiseach a similar situation in Athens.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Thank you.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan When can some action be taken in this regard? Moreover, I have just heard that a complex in Balbriggan is being evacuated because it was built so badly during the Celtic tiger era. When can the Taoiseach do something for Priory Hall?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny While I cannot speak for the judicial person involved in this regard, a decision is pending. The No. 1 Bill to which Deputy Broughan referred is due this year, while the No. 2 Bill to which he referred is due next year.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty On election topics, the Taoiseach spoke about transparency and not hiding any truths from the people, regardless of how difficult were those truths. In that context, when will the Government lay before the Houses the report from Ernst & Young that was commissioned in 2009 into the actions of Irish Nationwide and how that financial institution was being run? Four years have elapsed since that report was prepared and the public is being kept in the dark in respect of the activities of Mr. Fingleton and others. Will the Taoiseach commit to having this report published? Will the report be available to the committee that will investigate the bank guarantee and the issues surrounding it?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The answer to the Deputy's question is I do not know. This goes back to 2009, which is two years before the present Administration took office. I suggest that were the Deputy to table a parliamentary question, the Government would attempt to answer it as accurately as it can.

Seanad (No. 2) Bill 2013: First Stage

Deputy Shane Ross: Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to reform the system of electing the elected members of Seanad Éireann as provided for in Article 18.10 of the Constitution by extending the right to vote to all persons entitled to vote in elections for Dáil Éireann, and to certain other persons resident in the State and to persons resident in Northern Ireland who qualify for Irish Citizenship and to Irish Citizens resident abroad who hold Irish Passports, and to provide for gender equality in the election of the elected members of Seanad Éireann, and to make provision for the exercise by Seanad Éireann of powers relating to scrutiny of EU Legislative proposals and for the holding of inquiries and the receipt of citizens’ petitions, and for the repeal of certain Acts relating to Seanad Éireann, and to provide for related matters.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Is the Bill opposed?

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe No.

  Question put and agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

Deputy Shane Ross: Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

  Question put and agreed to.

Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement: Referral to Committee

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe I move:

That the proposal that Dáil Éireann approves under Article 29.5.2º of the Constitution the terms of the Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Government of the State of Israel, of the other part; and the provisional application of the Agreement from the date of signature, a copy of which was laid before Dáil Éireann on 27 November 2012, be referred to the Select Sub-Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport, in accordance with Standing Order 82A(3)(b) and (6)(a), which, not later than 30 May 2013, shall send a message to the Dáil in the manner prescribed in Standing Order 87, and Standing Order 86(2) shall accordingly apply.

  Question put and agreed to.

Topical Issue Debate

Public Sector Pensions Issues

Deputy Olivia Mitchell: Information on Olivia Mitchell Zoom on Olivia Mitchell I appreciate the opportunity to raise this issue. It concerns an individual case in which I believe an injustice is being done, whereby a person's public service pension is erroneously being reduced. While I would not normally raise an individual case, I do so for two reasons. First, others in similar circumstances may now or in the future be similarly treated and second, I believe the existing injustice may now be compounded by the legislation Members are due to pass tomorrow and which will be discussed later this evening.

In a nutshell, the pensioner concerned worked for more than 30 years in the private sector and during that time, accumulated a substantial pension fund. Towards the end of his career, he transferred to the National Treasury Management Agency, NTMA, which is in the public service, and transferred his accumulated pension fund assets to the NTMA's pension fund. The bottom line is that 62% of his pension now comes from his privately-purchased pension pot. In other words, he paid into the NTMA scheme a sum agreed with the agency that allowed his agreed pension to be paid to him without any cost to the NTMA or to the State. The public service pension reduction, PSPR, is targeted at pensions funded by the public purse but although almost two-thirds of this gentleman's pension is not funded by the public purse, it is all subject to the reduction. He made prudent provision for his old age in good faith by purchasing these added years of service. He could have kept his pension pot or cashed it in. He could have spent it foolishly or could have put it in a bank and saved it and now be earning interest from it. However, he did what was advised by the NTMA when he went to work for that agency. At present, €22,929 is being deducted from his pension and is being paid to the State but only €4,400 of that reduction is attributable to the NTMA or public service portion of his pension. In short, €18,524 is being deducted from the privately-funded portion of his pension and this appears to me to be an egregious injustice.


Last Updated: 29/04/2020 09:47:53 First Page Previous Page Page of 91 Next Page Last Page