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 Header Item Questions on Promised Legislation (Continued)
 Header Item Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission: Motion
 Header Item Employment Equality (Abolition of Mandatory Retirement Age) Bill 2016: First Stage
 Header Item Business of Dáil

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 932 No. 1

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  1 o’clock

Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission: Motion

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I move:

That Dáil Éireann, noting that the Government—

(a) on 27th September, 2016, nominated Ms. Justice Mary Ellen Ring for reappointment by the President as a member of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and as its chairperson, recommends, pursuant to section 65(1)(b) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, that she be reappointed by the President to be a member and to be chairperson of the Commission; and

(b) on 6th December, 2016, nominated Mr. Kieran FitzGerald for reappointment and Mr. Mark Toland for appointment by the President as members of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, recommends, pursuant to section 65(1)(b) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, that Mr. Kieran FitzGerald be reappointed and Mr. Mark Toland be appointed by the President to be members of the Commission.

  Question put and agreed to.

Employment Equality (Abolition of Mandatory Retirement Age) Bill 2016: First Stage

Deputy John Brady: Information on John Brady Zoom on John Brady 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 seeks to abolish the mandatory retirement age. In introducing the Bill, I acknowledge the work of a former Member of the House, Ms Anne Ferris, who sought to introduce this abolition in 2014.

  Every year workers are forced out of their jobs because of their age. Irish law currently permits employers to set mandatory retirement ages in their employees' contracts. There are exceptions in the Bill for those in security-related employment who have special retirement ages already set. Age should not determine whether someone can do their job.

  The Bill is about giving people a choice. Some might be eager and ready to retire. Some might need to work past the age of 65 to make up further contributions for their State pension to avoid poverty, while others might simply want to work beyond the age of 65.

  An argument brought up repeatedly when it comes to abolishing the mandatory retirement age is that having a mandatory retirement age is necessary to facilitate youth employment. In reality, evidence suggests that reducing participation of older people in the workforce does not lead to increased employment for young people. This link has been dismissed by the OECD and the IZA World of Labor report 2014. If we consider the Bill from a financial perspective alone, financially it makes sense for an older worker to remain in employment, contributing to the Exchequer, instead of receiving payments from it.

  A number of organisations have called for the abolition of the mandatory retirement age for many years. I commend the efforts of Age Action Ireland to highlight this issue and to work towards making it happen. Public opinion also supports the abolition of mandatory retirement age. Last month an online poll conducted by thejournal.ie found that 70% of respondents wanted to see mandatory retirement abolished.

  In recent years a number of pension reforms have caused huge hardship for our older citizens and have particularly impacted on women. The Bill represents an opportunity for us to do something positive for those who wish to work beyond 65. The Bill is fundamentally about choice. It will put an end to the facilitation of ageism which should have no place in our society.

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

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny 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 John Brady: Information on John Brady Zoom on John Brady I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

  Question put and agreed to.

Business of Dáil

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams May I raise a point of order regarding Standing Order 46?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Yes.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams The Ceann Comhairle will know that Standing Order 46 states: "The Ceann Comhairle shall have discretion to permit any member to make a personal explanation in the Dáil". He will also know that I made this request to him yesterday.

  Our press officer was contacted yesterday evening by a journalist, Niall O'Connor, from the Irish Independent. In an e-mail he stated that the Government press secretary had released the following statement: "Deputy Adams has not yet made an application to the Ceann Comhairle for speaking time tomorrow." If Niall O'Connor's claim is true, I ask the Ceann Comhairle to make it clear that it is not the business of the Government or anyone else to be deliberately misleading the media or facilitating the media misleading anyone else about what communications I have had or have not had with the Ceann Comhairle. It is not the business of the Government to comment at all on the Ceann Comhairle or his office, which is an independent office. I raised this question with the Ceann Comhairle yesterday evening.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I am grateful to the Deputy for raising the matter.


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