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 Header Item Departmental Reports (Continued)
 Header Item Estimates for Public Services 2017: Message from Select Committee

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 942 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton] My Department is not aware of any instance of a third level institution not operating in accordance with good practice in respect of work and contract conditions or not operating in accordance with the provisions of national industrial relations agreements.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I note that the Minister said, "My Department is not aware of any issues regarding non-lecturing grades." I suggest the Minister agree to meet the representatives of the staff involved and their union representatives so they might advise him of what is happening as regards the quality of the work and contracts and the extent of permanency being made available, as I said, in particular in respect of staff involved in library services and administrative staff. It behoves Deputy Bruton as Minister for Education and Skills to familiarise himself with the present difficulties. We all understand that we have come out of a difficult economic period. That period is over. Deputy Bruton is taking a very retrograde step in saying he, as Minister, will wash his hands of the quality of contracts that vital ancillary staff will be able to obtain in third level institutions and colleges. It should be remembered that these ancillary staff, particularly those who work in libraries or provide other services to students, provide absolutely vital contact for students in their colleges and universities. We already know that class sizes have broadly increased, so ancillary services are enormously important to the quality of the educational experience a student receives. If this sector is so important in giving people opportunities to qualify as graduates-----

Acting Chairman (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly I thank the Deputy.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton -----and bolstering research in the Irish university and third level sector, it seems to me a very retrograde step, as I said-----

Acting Chairman (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly I thank the Deputy.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton -----to strip the quality of these jobs. The Minister claims-----

Acting Chairman (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly The Deputy's time is up.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton -----he has no knowledge of this. The previous speaker referred to Pontius Pilate.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly I thank the Deputy. Her time is up.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Minister, unusually for him, is doing a Pontius Pilate on this-----

Acting Chairman (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly I thank the Deputy.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton -----and he needs to address it.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I reiterate that I do not have responsibility for the HR policies of colleges. Those colleges have fought hard for the autonomy they have secured and Deputy Burton would have been one of those advocating the independence of the governance of colleges. My work is to ensure the framework of performance for these colleges is shaped in such a way that they deliver high quality, see more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds coming through their college doors and deliver degrees and research to high standards. I seek to win additional resources for them.

Deputy Burton is right that we have come through a very difficult period, when there was no money for third level. This year, for the first time, I have secured €36.5 million to invest back into the third level sector to allow these colleges to grow, expand and provide additional service. Further, I am seeking to commit to additional resources in each of the next three years and I am working with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to provide a funding model that has both Exchequer and employer contribution. However, I do not have a direct role in human resource issues. That is the way it has been set up under law and I operate within the law of the land.

Estimates for Public Services 2017: Message from Select Committee

Acting Chairman (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly The Select Committee on Children and Youth Affairs has completed its consideration of the following Revised Estimate for the service of the year ending 31 December 2017 - Vote No. 40.

  Sitting suspended at 5.35 p.m. and resumed at 6.10 p.m.


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