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 Header Item Leaders' Questions (Continued)
 Header Item Appointment of Ministers and Ministers of State

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 909 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams] Has the Tánaiste spoken to the Commissioner about the allegation that the latter instructed her legal team to the effect that Maurice McCabe had acted maliciously? I asked the Tánaiste that question and I am going to ask her again. I also asked her whether two officers had made the same allegation. She has not answered these questions at all.

I happen to believe that the Tánaiste is a good Minister, but I will remind her of what happened to Alan Shatter. He was appointed as Minister for Justice and Equality and she was appointed following his resignation. He was embroiled in a series of scandals when the two Garda whistleblowers, John Wilson and Maurice McCabe, raised concerns regarding practices within the upper echelons of An Garda Síochána. It is now a matter of fact that they were smeared and bullied. Teachtaí anseo were also smeared and measured, rational propositions from Sinn Féin and others were ridiculed by the Government, including An Taoiseach. Then, one day, the Attorney General told the Taoiseach about the taping of telephone calls into and out of Garda stations. There was no way that the Taoiseach would fob this issue off any longer. After telling us for months that there was nothing to see and we should move on, he acted in an entirely unorthodox and unacceptable way. I said this at the time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Deputy needs to conclude.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams I will. As I stated at the time, the Taoiseach was solely responsible for the events that followed and for the unprecedented series of resignations. Let us remember that the most important people are the victims of crimes that were not properly investigated.

I put my questions to the Tánaiste again. Will she ask the Taoiseach to make a full and comprehensive statement to the Dáil on the serious matters that he needs to address or will she wait until he sends the Secretary General of her Department to talk to the Garda Commissioner?

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Obviously, the Taoiseach will make a statement when we have the debate in the House. That debate is being arranged by the Whips.

In this era of new politics, it is important that I respect the law and the duty that I have to it. That is what I have been doing in my responses to the Deputy on this question. The commission and Mr. Justice O'Higgins were in the best position to hear all of the facts and to reach conclusions on the very serious incidents that were investigated by the commission. In that regard, the commission's report is the best description that we could possibly have got of the various incidents.

I took the decision when I got the Guerin report to follow its recommendations in full, namely, to set up a commission of investigation with statutory powers. The 97 witnesses were heard and we have the report. We can do the best service to the victims whose cases were investigated there and provide the best response that they should be getting by dealing with the recommendations in the report. That is what the House should now be doing.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty Answer the question.

Deputy Mick Barry: Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry The Tánaiste has been asked a question. Will she answer it?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl One speaker, please. Let the Deputy's leader speak.

A Deputy: That is not Deputy Mick Barry's leader.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Well then, tóg go bog é.

A Deputy: The leader of the left.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I congratulate the new Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality and wish her well in her job.

It has been almost one year since the iconic Clerys store on our national main street was unceremoniously shut down and its hard working and loyal staff and many small businesses that operated therein were thrown out onto the streets. In one of the worst examples of corporate greed in our recent history, approximately 500 staff and dozens of small businesses were left with nothing and had to rely entirely on the State's insolvency schemes at significant cost to the State, PRSI contributors and taxpayers.

I support the Clerys workers in their fight for justice and their demand that the type of corporate behaviour and corporate greed that they fell victim to should not be visited on any other Irish worker or small business. Does the Government agree with Mr. Kevin Duffy and Ms Nessa Cahill, the authors of a recent report, on the need to change employment law to protect workers better who are caught in insolvencies like the one at Clerys, which left people out on the street with all of their entitlements gone? Will the Government support the Clerys workers in their search for justice and fair treatment? Will the simple and moderate changes in employment law that were recommended in the Duffy-Cahill report be put into law and implemented by the Government and when will that happen?

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As the Deputy is aware, a report was published two weeks ago relating to the issues that she has raised. The whole country saw what happened to the Clerys workers and was concerned about it. That report has identified changes that could be made to the law. It will be considered under the Government's legislative programme. The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation is assessing the report to determine whether legislative change is necessary to deal with the issues that the Deputy outlined.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Last week after the Labour Party left office, IBEC strongly refuted the need to change employment law. Does the Government agree with the position taken by the workers or IBEC? This is a simple question. On whose side does the Government stand? After five years of reform to employment and collective bargaining laws inspired by the Labour Party in office, I am horrified to see that the further enhancement of employment legislation in respect of workers barely gets a mention in the programme for Government. If there is a chapter or two or three pages that I have missed, could someone point them out to me? They are not there. As a society, we have problems around-----

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith The Labour Party was in government for the past five years.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin We always used collective bargaining.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl One speaker, please.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Is Deputy Bríd Smith blind?

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Tax reliefs and Ministers' pensions.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton -----protecting people in arranged insolvencies, such as that involving Clerys, that appear to be within the framework of common law but manage to turn workers and businesses out onto the street and offer them no protection. The programme for Government is silent on this important issue.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley It is a bit like what Labour is doing to Deputy Kelly.

Deputy David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane Who did nothing either.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Could the Tánaiste tell us about it, please?

(Interruptions).

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald This issue is currently being examined following the publication of the report that Deputy Burton cited. Clearly, if legislation is required to give the kinds of protection required by situations such as that at Clerys, it will be considered by the Government and will be-----

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton It is not in the programme for Government.

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald That does not exclude it from being considered. The report will be examined. If legislation is required, it can be introduced.

Appointment of Ministers and Ministers of State

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I wish to announce for the information of the Dáil that the Taoiseach having informed the President that Dáil Éireann had approved his nomination of Deputies to be members of the Government, the President on 6 May 2016 appointed them accordingly. On the same day, the Taoiseach nominated me to be Tánaiste and assigned me to the Department of Justice and Equality. On the same date, he assigned the Department of Defence to himself and the other Departments of State to the other members of the Government as follows:


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