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 Header Item Order of Business (Continued)
 Header Item Topical Issue Matters
 Header Item Companies (Amendment) Bill 2016: First Stage
 Header Item Presentation of Estimates: Motion
 Header Item Ceisteanna - Questions
 Header Item Seanad Reform

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 913 No. 2

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Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien The universities (amendment) Bill, the heads of which were approved in October 2012, is about remuneration, allowances and pensions.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I will come back and advise the Deputy on it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl My apologies to the seven other Deputies who had indicated but who have not been able to get in given that the time allowed has elapsed.

Topical Issue Matters

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I wish to advise the House of the following matters in respect of which notice has been given under Standing Order 27A and the name of the Member in each case: (1) Deputy Mattie McGrath - the measures being taken to address and combat elder abuse; (2) Deputy Peter Burke - the greenway in counties Longford and Westmeath; (3) Deputy Frank O'Rourke - transport in Kildare North; (4) Deputy John Lahart - to ask the Minister for Health to make a statement on tonsillectomy waiting times at Tallaght hospital; (5) Deputy Jackie Cahill - the crisis in beef prices, with a reported warning of a "catastrophic collapse in demand"; (6) Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív - the exclusion of persons on the JobPath programme from the Tús work placement initiative, the community employment scheme and the community services programme; (7) Deputy James Browne - the unemployment crisis in the south east; (8) Deputy David Cullinane - the Central Statistics Office's quarterly national household survey, quarter 1 2016, which shows the rate of unemployment in the south east at 12.5%; (9) Deputies Alan Farrell and Joan Burton - water quality on beaches in north County Dublin, specifically in Rush; (10) Deputy John Brassil - funding for a nurse at Nano Nagle school in Listowel, County Kerry; (11) Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick - the meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council on 10 June on the Narrow Water Bridge project; (12) Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire - concerns about insufficient capacity within the early education sector and the forthcoming changes in the regulations; (13) Deputy Dara Calleary - cleaning of the River Deel at Crossmolina, County Mayo; (14) Deputy Lisa Chambers - the inordinate delays children and families face in accessing autism spectrum disorder and early intervention services in County Mayo; (15) Deputies John Curran, Bríd Smith, Dessie Ellis, Paul Murphy and Fergus O'Dowd - a review of the pay by weight scheme which is due to be introduced from 1 July; (16) Deputy Imelda Munster - the release of funds for a seven classroom extension at Scoil Naomh Feichín in Termonfeckin, County Louth; (17) Deputy Pearse Doherty - the publication of the statistics on the use of the leeway permissible under the Central Bank's mortgage rules related to loan-to-value and loan-to-income conditions by banks in which the State has a share; (18) Deputy Alan Kelly - to ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to outline how successful Fáilte Ireland's Lough Derg strategy has been, how much funding has been allocated to date for the strategy and in what timeframe the remaining required funds of the proposed €10.5 million strategy will be allocated; (19) Deputies Brendan Griffin and Danny Healy-Rae - the concerns of parents about possible side effects of the HPV vaccine, Gardasil, and to determine whether the Minister for Health will address the concerns of parents whose children, they believe, developed adverse side effects from the HPV vaccine; (20) Deputy Thomas Byrne - the need for the Minister for Education and Skills to urgently discuss the review of school bus services which is being carried out and implemented despite the Department publicly stating this would not happen until next year; (21) Deputy Eamon Scanlon - the need for the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government to address the exclusion of social welfare dependent persons from the incremental tenant purchase scheme for local authority housing; (22) Deputy Ruth Coppinger - the publication today of the Women's Aid impact report 2015 and the need to tackle domestic abuse and support victims; (23) Deputy Clare Daly - the overcrowding in the Dóchas Centre; (24) Deputy Billy Kelleher - to ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to prioritise funding for a new north ring road in Cork as a key infrastructural project for the economic and social development of the north side of Cork; (25) Deputy Michael Harty - the need for the Minister for Health to address the concerns about the recent curtailment of the provision of home health hours and home care packages as a cost containment measure, given that this reduction in community support will lead to increased costs elsewhere in the health service owing to increased hospital admissions and nursing home placements under the fair deal scheme; (26) Deputy Niamh Smyth - to ask the Minister for Social Protection whether officials from his Department will meet the 200 plus staff in the McCormacks Garages group in counties Cavan, Leitrim and Sligo which went into receivership on Monday to brief them on their entitlements and ensure they receive the best possible package available to them and what his Department will do to ensure these workers avail of the upskilling they need to help them to obtain future employment; (27) Deputy Mick Barry - the lack of speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and nurses - a multidisciplinary team - at Cara junior school in Cork; (28) Deputy Charlie McConalogue - the need for the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to discuss progress in reauthorising at EU level the glyphosate licence; (29) Deputy Michael McGrath - to ask the Minister for Finance the steps his Department is taking to prepare for the economic implications for Ireland in the event of a possible Brexit vote on 23 June and if he will make a statement on the matter; and (30) Deputy Thomas P. Broughan - the urgent need for the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to intervene in the decision to terminate the Trinity Adult Resource Group for Education and Training, TARGET, licence to operate in St. Kevin's school, Donaghmede, given the vital and broad range of services being provided by the outstanding TARGET community centre for thousands of homes in Donaghmede parish.

The matters raised by Deputies Éamon Ó Cuív, Alan Farrell and Joan Burton, Peter Burke and Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire have been selected for discussion.

Companies (Amendment) Bill 2016: First Stage

Deputy David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Companies Act 2014 to hold a company officer or officers acting on behalf of a corporate body personally liable where a breach of employment law is committed.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is the Bill being opposed?

Deputy Regina Doherty: Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty No.

  Question put and agreed to.

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

Deputy David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

This is a Bill to amend the Companies Act 2014 to hold a company officer or officers acting on behalf of a corporate body personally liable where a breach of employment law is committed. It would lift the "corporate veil" whereby company officers or directors can separate the legal personality of a company from their legal responsibilities to their employees. The Clerys workers, among many others, were left high and dry, while employers can hide behind company law. While the Bill is not the only solution, it is one of a number of solutions advocated to deal with the issue.

  Question put and agreed to.

Presentation of Estimates: Motion

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I move:

That, notwithstanding Standing Order 182(1) or (2) of the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business, the following Revised Estimates for Public Services for the year ending 31st December 2016, be presented to the Dáil and circulated to members on 15th June 2016, being a date later than that prescribed for the presentation of Estimates:
Vote 26 — Education and Skills (Revised Estimate).

Vote 38 — Health (Revised Estimate).

  Question put and agreed to.

Ceisteanna - Questions

Seanad Reform

 1. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the status of proposals to reform Seanad Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12980/16]

 2. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny his progress in furthering the proposals in the Manning report on reform of Seanad Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12981/16]

 3. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny his role in relation to the commitment in the programme for Government to reform Seanad Éireann by implementing the Manning report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13101/16]

 4. Deputy Ruth Coppinger Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the status of the reform of Seanad Éireann. [15854/16]

 5. Deputy Paul Murphy Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the status of the reform of Seanad Éireann. [15860/16]

 6. Deputy Mick Barry Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the status of the reform of Seanad Éireann. [15866/16]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 6, inclusive, together.

In the new programme for a partnership Government the Government stated its intention to reform Seanad Éireann. We are committed to pursuing implementation of the report of the working group on Seanad Reform which was chaired by Dr. Maurice Manning. The report was published last year. With the associated draft Bill and the explanatory memorandum prepared for the group, it is available on the Department's website. I welcomed its publication and indicated that there needed to be a public and political discussion and consultation on it. To that end, I requested that the working group make a presentation to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht and the Committee on Procedure and Privileges of the Seanad. On 5 May and 8 July 2015 statements on the report were made in Seanad Éireann, with the chairman of the working group and former Senator Joe O'Toole, a member of the group, in attendance. Last July I met Opposition leaders to discuss the report's content. Arising from the meeting, I gave a commitment to have a debate in the Dáil on the working group's report. Although this did not prove possible in the previous Dáil, it is still my intention that the debate take place as soon as possible. A Dáil debate should be the first step in the reform process.

In February 2014 the then Government presented a package of proposals on Seanad reform to the then Leader of the Seanad for submission to the Seanad Committee on Procedure and Privileges. In February 2014 the general scheme of the Seanad Electoral (University Members) (Amendment) Bill was published for consultation. The purpose of the Bill was to enable implementation of the 1979 constitutional amendment to extend the Seanad franchise to graduates of higher education institutes in the State that did not form part of the Seanad universities constituencies. The general scheme was presented in the Seanad for discussion in March 2014 and at the end of the previous Dáil a revised general scheme was under consideration by the then Government. It would need to be considered in the light of the Government's commitment to Seanad reform in A Programme for a Partnership Government.

I am very supportive of the pursuit of implementation of the Manning report and have advised the new Leader of the Seanad, Senator Jerry Buttimer, that it should be a priority of his.


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