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Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Child Labour in Dublin.

Tuesday, 7 June 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 223 No. 1

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49.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will take prompt and effective steps to enforce the law prohibiting the employment of child labour in the city of Dublin.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery The employment of children under 14 years of age in [33] industrial work is prohibited by the Conditions of Employment Act, 1936 and a check is kept on this matter by inspectors of my Department in the course of their normal inspections of factories. There is a similar prohibition in the case of shops and Dublin hotels under the Shops (Conditions of Employment) Acts, 1938 and 1942, and any complaints received are investigated.

If the Deputy is in a position to let me have specific information about a possible breach of the law, I will, of course, have it investigated.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Is the Minister in a position to say whether any action has been taken under the Conditions of Employment Act?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery A number of prosecutions have been taken.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Does the Minister think that it remains for a Deputy to be a watchdog in matters of this kind?

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Yes.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery I think Deputies have responsibility.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange The Government have, too.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey What is the responsibility of the Minister and his cohorts?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery I have inspectors. If cases exist which are not discovered by the inspectors and the Deputy is aware of them, he has the responsibility of letting me know.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey If inspectors prove to be negligent, what happens?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery I would simply deal with the matter.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Has there been any disciplinary action taken in relation to inspectors who have been negligent?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy is asking a fifth supplementary question. The Deputy is not entitled to ask all these questions. I am calling Question No. 50.

[34]Mr. O'Leary: Is the Minister aware that many of the joint industrial councils attached to the Labour Court have had complaints from time to time about firms competing with members of these joint industrial councils which employ non-union labour? Many of them employ child labour. I am thinking in particular of the textile trade in Dublin.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery Zoom on Patrick John Hillery If the Deputy thinks I can get information from these councils, I shall certainly have the councils approached.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Surely this does not mean that we simply pass an Act, give it our blessing, and not give effect to it? Surely the Minister is responsible for enforcing the Act?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy should remember this is Question Time. The Deputy has asked his quota of questions. I am calling Question No. 50.


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