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 Appointment of Ministers and Ministers of State (Continued)
 Header Item Order of Business

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 909 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 98 Next Page Last Page

  4 o’clock

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald] Department of Finance to Deputy Michael Noonan.

Department of Education and Skills to Deputy Richard Bruton.

Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government to Deputy Simon Coveney.

Department of Social Protection to Deputy Leo Varadkar.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to Deputy Charles Flanagan.

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to Deputy Paschal Donohoe.

Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to Deputy Heather Humphreys.

Department of Health to Deputy Simon Harris.

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to Deputy Michael Creed.

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to Deputy Denis Naughten.

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to Deputy Shane Ross.

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor.

Department of Children and Youth Affairs to Deputy Katherine Zappone.

These assignments have been made pending completion of the necessary processes for the establishment of the new Departments and for transfers of functions that the Taoiseach announced in the House on 6 May; on 6 May 2016, the President on the nomination of the Taoiseach, appointed Máire Whelan, SC, as Attorney General; and on the same date, the Government appointed Deputy Regina Doherty to be Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach with special responsibility as Government Chief Whip, Deputy Paul Kehoe to be Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach and at the Department of Defence with special responsibility for the Department of Defence and Deputy Finian McGrath to be Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection-----

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley Tobacco.

(Interruptions).

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald -----the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Health with special responsibility for disability issues.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Can we proceed to the Order of Business now?

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin For smoking cessation.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The smoking section of the Cabinet. Thank you, Finian.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath I will be back.

Deputy Niall Collins: Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins He will, I would say, and not before long. He did not last long the last time.

Order of Business

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald It is proposed to take No. 2, Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the following arrangements shall apply in relation to No. 2: the opening speech of a Minister or Minister of State and of the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, AAA-PBP, Independents4Change, the Social Democrats, the Green Party or a Member nominated in their stead, and a non-party Deputy shall not exceed 30 minutes in each case, and such Members may share their time; the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed 20 minutes in each case, and such Members may share their time; and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed 15 minutes; and Private Members' business shall be No. 3, Central Bank (Variable Rate Mortgages) Bill 2016 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage, and the proceedings on the Second Stage thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 18 May 2016, and the following time limits and sequence of speakers shall apply: proposer, 40 minutes; Government, 20 minutes; Sinn Féin, 20 minutes; non-group, 25 minutes; the Labour Party, ten minutes; proposer, 30 minutes; Government, 20 minutes; and proposer to reply, 15 minutes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl There are two proposals to put to the House today. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 2 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal regarding the arrangements for dealing with Private Members' business this evening agreed to? Agreed.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin In the context of the programme for Government and in various discussions prior to the formation of the Government, there was considerable discussion on the issue of the casualisation of the workforce and the downward momentum in pay levels generally, particularly in the private sector and some elements of the public sector for new entrants. The circumstances of Tesco workers are particularly worrying. Tesco is endeavouring to change, and is in the process of changing contracts for employees who have been working with it for more than 20 years. It is symptomatic of what is happening in many enterprises. There is a dumbing down, in many respects, of the quality of employment and terms and conditions for people who have given loyal and committed service. It is very unfair on the workers concerned. At various times, various trade unions will endeavour to enter into negotiations to obtain lump sums, for example, but essentially the jobs themselves and their status are essentially being undermined. It is a worry in terms of the growing gulf in income levels in society. Will the Tánaiste indicate whether the Workplace Relations Commission is considering intervening in that dispute? More widely in terms of the programme for Government, when can we expect some concrete measures to deal with this issue and issues like it?

Second, with regard to the public sector pay commission, which is committed to in the programme for Government, will the Tánaiste indicate to the House when it will be established? Will there be consultation with the Dáil prior to its establishment? Will debate be facilitated with the relevant committee and with the House itself during plenary session? Will the membership of the commission be the subject of consultation and engagement?

Third, there is a commitment in the programme for Government to the development of a second cath laboratory in Waterford University Hospital subject to a favourable recommendation from an independent clinical review of the needs of the region to be carried out within six weeks. Will the Tánaiste confirm when this review is due to commence and who the members of the review team will be?

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I thank Deputy Micheál Martin. On the first issue raised, there was a report on zero-hours contracts and there is also the report I have mentioned in regard to Clerys. They will obviously be considered by the Minister in regard to the issue the Deputy raised.

I accept the point the Deputy made on casualisation but we have to put it into the context of the growth in the number of full-time jobs and of Ireland being the fastest growing economy in Europe, with GDP growth of 7.8% in 2015. That is the background. We saw 1,000 jobs being created every week in 2015 and 135,000 jobs were created since the Action Plan for Jobs was launched in 2012. There was a very welcome drop in unemployment, down to 8.4% from the peak of 15.2%.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The casualisation of the workforce.

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Nevertheless, the issues the Deputy raised in regard to Tesco ones to be considered. He mentioned the Workplace Relations Commission. The programme for Government contains reinforcement and support for the work of the commission.

With regard to the commission to be set up, I do not have the details yet but it is intended to establish it in the next couple of months. I can give the Deputy further details when the Taoiseach meets the Ministers, as he intends to do in the next two weeks, to work out the priority programme of legislation. Obviously, the House will then be in a position to examine the precise priorities. I have no doubt that the establishment of the commission will be one of those priorities. The timetable will be seen at that point.

With regard to the laboratory in Waterford University Hospital, it is stated in the programme for Government, as mentioned by the Deputy, that the review will be completed within six weeks. The decision was that there should be an outside expert in the area of the particular services that need to be developed.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Cardiac services.

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Cardiac services. I assume it would be an expert clinician who would carry out the review but that is to be determined by the Minister for Health. No doubt, the details of that review will be announced in the coming days.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Tá dhá cheist agam, ceann amháin faoin equality-disability miscellaneous provisions Bill agus ceann eile faoin Lucht Siúil agus an gealltanas i gclár an Rialtais faoin national Traveller and Roma inclusion strategy. Leanfaidh mé ar aghaidh leis an gceist faoin Lucht Siúil ar dtús. The Government signed up in November 2000 to the European Social Charter, including Article 16, which covers the rights of the family to social, legal and economic protection. In the last programme for Government, there was a commitment to deliver on the principles of social inclusion for the Traveller community. The current programme for Government makes a similar commitment and that includes a commitment to publish a national Traveller and Roma inclusion strategy this year.


Last Updated: 06/11/2017 14:25:59 First Page Previous Page Page of 98 Next Page Last Page