Order of Business (Continued)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Seanad Éireann Debate

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Senator Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien] What angers me is that we have had a budget and Social Welfare Bill, with the Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Joan Burton, indicating that we would have a debate. I welcomed that and we should consider the options. She has had the report since last March and it is only going to the Cabinet today.

  I sat in this Chamber for hours debating the Social Welfare Bill with the Minister and I did the same with the budget but she has had the bloody report for almost 12 months. It has not even come to the House for debate. It is outrageous-----

Senator Terry Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden Zoom on Terry Leyden A cover-up.

Senator Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien -----that she is looking to bring it to the Cabinet today. Why is she doing that? Is she trying to slip it under the radar when there are other major issues, such as the Magdalen laundries, being debated in these Houses? I ask that without further delay, the Minister, Deputy Burton, should come to the House for a proper debate on the recommendations of the Mangan report, which she should have brought in during the Social Welfare Bill.

Senator Ivana Bacik: Information on Ivana Bacik Zoom on Ivana Bacik All of us would welcome a debate on the Mangan report and, to be fair, the Minister, Deputy Burton, promised the debate when she was in the House discussing the Social Welfare Bill.

Senator Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien She has had it since March.

Senator Ivana Bacik: Information on Ivana Bacik Zoom on Ivana Bacik I do not know from where Senator O'Brien is getting his information and I certainly did not have that impression. It is certainly not what the Minister said when she indicated she was awaiting-----

Senator Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien She has the report since March.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Paddy Burke Zoom on Paddy Burke The Senator, without interruption.

Senator Ivana Bacik: Information on Ivana Bacik Zoom on Ivana Bacik I have no information about that.

Senator Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien She did. She has it since March.

Senator Ivana Bacik: Information on Ivana Bacik Zoom on Ivana Bacik I do not believe so.

Senator John Gilroy: Information on John Gilroy Zoom on John Gilroy The Senator is making it up.

Senator Ivana Bacik: Information on Ivana Bacik Zoom on Ivana Bacik In any case-----

Senator Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien How does the Senator know?

Senator Paul Coghlan: Information on Paul Coghlan Zoom on Paul Coghlan There is another flyer over there.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Paddy Burke Zoom on Paddy Burke Senator Bacik, without interruption.

Senator Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien Labour were meant to protect child benefit.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Paddy Burke Zoom on Paddy Burke Senator Bacik, without interruption.

Senator Ivana Bacik: Information on Ivana Bacik Zoom on Ivana Bacik I recommend that Senator O'Brien might-----

Senator Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien I will not take recommendations from Senator Bacik.

Senator Ivana Bacik: Information on Ivana Bacik Zoom on Ivana Bacik The Senator might read the debates on the Social Welfare Bill in this House.

Senator Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien I was here.

Senator Ivana Bacik: Information on Ivana Bacik Zoom on Ivana Bacik The Minister, Deputy Burton, told us that as soon as she had the full report-----

Senator Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien She has had the report since March.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Paddy Burke Zoom on Paddy Burke Senator Bacik, without interruption.

Senator Ivana Bacik: Information on Ivana Bacik Zoom on Ivana Bacik She indicated she would come to us as soon as it went to the Cabinet.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Paddy Burke Zoom on Paddy Burke Is there a question for the Leader?

Senator Ivana Bacik: Information on Ivana Bacik Zoom on Ivana Bacik I know she will come here and we are trying to get a date in early course for that debate.

Senator Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien We can ask her why she misled the House.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Paddy Burke Zoom on Paddy Burke Allow Senator Bacik to proceed without interruption.

Senator Ivana Bacik: Information on Ivana Bacik Zoom on Ivana Bacik She will facilitate us in that regard.

Senator Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien She had the report since last March.

Senator Ivana Bacik: Information on Ivana Bacik Zoom on Ivana Bacik We look forward to that debate very much. I welcome the fact that we will, in early course, have a debate on the findings of the Magdalen report from former Senator, Dr. Martin McAleese. We might have the debate next week and it is very important we have it soon, given the amount of public interest and long delay experienced by the survivors of the Magdalen laundries in seeking justice. We all anticipate the Dáil debate this evening and the Taoiseach's words in particular, as we anticipate that an apology will be given, as the report found a level of State involvement. The report indicates that the State was directly engaged in over a quarter of referrals to the laundries. That alone requires State acknowledgement and an apology, and we look forward to that. I know many colleagues and I will be partaking in the vigil at 5 p.m. outside Leinster House in supporting the survivors.

Senator Jillian van Turnhout: Information on Jillian van Turnhout Zoom on Jillian van Turnhout I thank everyone who attended a joint briefing I organised on the Magdalen report with Amnesty International, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and Justice for Magdalenes. I hope we will debate the issue at the earliest opportunity, and I hope that today is day one of justice. When we have the debate I ask for appropriate time to scrutinise any proposed redress scheme; there should not just be reflection of the past but also consideration of how to restore into the future.

  I welcome the publication yesterday by the Children's Rights Alliance of its report card for 2013, which is a really comprehensive report on the Government's promises to children. Overall, the Government got a C grade, and I will refer to Senator O'Brien's comments with regard to child poverty. I do not know if it is "the" Mangan report but the first report of the Mangan group was put online today, and it is dated March 2012. I would like to see clarification on the report and its content. I am concerned by the leaks we read over the weekend. As a legislator, I cannot believe I must speak about leaks of a report. We have had debates on the Social Welfare Bill and we have been asked to act responsibly but we have not been provided with the relevant information.

  In the Children's Rights Alliance report and relevant to child poverty, the Department of Social Protection got an F grade. Rarely does the Children's Rights Alliance hand out an F grade. We have seen increasing child poverty figures in Ireland and if child poverty is left unaddressed, the issue can continue into a person's teenage years and cause significant life poverty risk.


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