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 Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2014: First Stage (Continued)
 Header Item Employment Equality (Abolition of Mandatory Retirement Age) Bill 2014: First Stage
 Header Item Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2012: Leave to Withdraw
 Header Item Report on Defence Forces Service with the United Nations in 2013: Referral to Select Committee
 Header Item Topical Issue Debate
 Header Item Middle East Issues

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 836 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy] The very thing that defines one on one's election material is something one is not allowed to include on the ballot paper. I seek a change to the law to allow that to happen.

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 Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

  Question put and agreed to.

Employment Equality (Abolition of Mandatory Retirement Age) Bill 2014: First Stage

Deputy Anne Ferris: Information on Anne Ferris Zoom on Anne Ferris I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Employment Equality Act 1998 and to provide for related matters.

The Bill is intended to amend the Employment Equality Act 1998 to abolish compulsory retirement ages for persons able and willing to continue with the job for which they are employed. Exceptions are provided for security related employment including in the Garda Síochána, Defence Forces and fire services. The Bill is based on similar progressive legislation elsewhere, including in the USA where compulsory retirement ages have been outlawed for many years and the UK where the practice has recently been outlawed. The legislation will not prevent any employer from offering financial incentives for voluntary retirement at a specified age. The emphasis will be on the voluntary nature of any such retirement. A worker who wishes to continue in employment may do so. The Bill is designed to combat ageism and promote a more positive experience of ageing and more positive attitudes to older citizens.

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.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Not opposed for Deputy Ferris.

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 Anne Ferris: Information on Anne Ferris Zoom on Anne Ferris I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

  Question put and agreed to.

Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2012: Leave to Withdraw

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

That, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, leave be granted to withdraw the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2012.

  Question put and agreed to.

Report on Defence Forces Service with the United Nations in 2013: Referral to Select 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 the report by the Minister for Defence regarding service by the Defence Forces with the United Nations in 2013, copies of which were laid before Dáil Éireann on 11th March, 2014, in accordance with Section 13 of the Defence (Amendment) Act 2006, be referred to the Select Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality, in accordance with Standing Order 82A(3)(b) and paragraph (8) of the Orders of Reference of Select Committees, which, not later than 8th April, 2014, 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

Middle East Issues

Deputy Anthony Lawlor: Information on Anthony Lawlor Zoom on Anthony Lawlor I thank the Office of the Ceann Comhairle for allowing Deputy Nolan and me to bring this very important issue to the attention of the House. Having visited Hebron six months ago, I have seen first-hand the plight of the Palestinians within the city. I saw the al-Rajabi house itself - the site of the proposed settlement - when I was there. There was a doubt about the legality of the purchase of the house, but the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that it was legally purchased. The final decision will be with the Minister of Defence in Israel.

The significance of the matter is the impact it will have on the Palestinians who are living there. I have seen myself that the whole centre of the city of Hebron has been sterilised. No Palestinian can engage in business, live within the centre or walk through the city. If I were a settler in the city of Hebron and wanted to reach the Minister of State, Deputy Paschal Donohoe, I could simply cross the floor. If I were a Palestinian, I would have to take a circuitous route around the building and come back to meet with him. That is the life of the Palestinians living there. The proposed settlement will split the communities within the city of Hebron and increase tensions which are already rising.

This is part of a wider issue. Negotiations are ongoing within a sham peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It is split at the moment. Within the West Bank area, the Israelis have a policy of not forcibly but gradually removing farmers from land and householders from their properties. I hope that in his response, the Minister of State will offer strong support for the Palestinians, particularly those in the Hebron area. Within the location of the house which has been purchased, there will be sterilisation. Businesses will close and Palestinians in the locality will have to generate their activity elsewhere.

Deputy Derek Nolan: Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan I had the privilege of visiting the West Bank, Gaza and Israel last year. Of all the situations of complete abnormality that were evident between Israel and Palestine and their two peoples, the most toxic was the one which obtained in Hebron. We are talking about a large Palestinian city which is solidly in the West Bank and nowhere near the state of Israel. Settlements have been cropping up all around over recent years. In the historic centre of Hebron, where the markets once flourished and shops once existed, settlements have grown up. They have expanded and caused a complete collapse. I often say to people in Galway when I recount my trip that it is like walking down Shop Street if all the shops were closed, the Galwegians were told to keep away and the only people permitted to be there were a few settlers. That is how appallingly the native Palestinian residents of Hebron are treated.

These little settlements are gradually extending into each other. The expansion into this new area called "the house of contention" has been signalled for some time since it was illegally purchased in March 2007 with forged documentation, a matter which has been going through the courts over recent years. It is another symbol of just how powerless, helpless and destructive matters are in Hebron. Hebron is the centre which demonstrates the hatred, viciousness and lack of trust on both sides. If the settlement goes ahead, we must lose hope that there is a genuine attempt to create a two-state solution. Ultimately, this will be a political decision in Israel. It must go through the Israeli Minister of Defence. Regardless of the European Union and international positions, I would like the Irish position to be articulated to the effect that we are against the expansion of the settlements and to have it communicated to the Israeli Government.

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I thank the Deputies for raising the issue. The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Eamon Gilmore, has consistently made clear the Government's strong criticism of and opposition to Israeli settlements and settlement expansion, which are illegal under international law and constitute a major obstacle to peace. Settlements and related policies in area C seem designed to drive Palestinians off the bulk of the land they occupy and to crowd them into the cities under Palestinian Authority control. Settlements establishment and the policies implemented to support them inherently involve continual injustices, hardships and humiliations for Palestinians. They are perhaps the main source of tension between the two communities on the ground. The Deputies, through the analogies they have used, have made very clear the injustices involved in these arrangements. Deputy Lawlor spoke about the difficulties in someone coming to approach me.


Last Updated: 21/09/2016 09:11:53 First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page