Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Order of Business (Continued)
 Header Item Taxation Order: Motion

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin] Perhaps the Taoiseach, or the relevant Minister, will indicate the measures that will be undertaken to accelerate the programme for Government provision and to make sure we have that forecasting service far earlier than the five years indicated, and that full resources will be provided for the recruitment of the 15 full-time staff who will be required.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten First, it is not the case that we lack ambition. Ongoing negotiations are currently taking place and we are not going to undermine Ireland's position in regard to them while we are in the middle of them. Specifically, in regard to the flood forecasting, this is something about which we are all very anxious. We are looking at ways in which this can be expedited. Met Éireann has been given the capacity, resources and funding that are needed in regard to that. My understanding is that some trials are already ongoing in regard to the predictability of forecasting.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin One person has been employed.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald I want to return to the national mitigation plan, which was published in July by the Minister, Deputy Naughten. The Taoiseach said that the consultation on the national adaptation framework will conclude on 27 October. Will the framework and the proposals be available by 10 December, which I understand is the target date? Is the Taoiseach on track for that? Thereafter, how long will it take Ministers and Departments to produce their own sectoral plans?

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten We are statutorily bound to have this ready for 10 December and we are working to that date. I have been given no indication as to why that will not happen. It is our intention to do that. It would then be a matter for each of the State agencies and local authorities to put their own adaptation plans in place. We, along with the Government, will be assisting them in doing that.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Tomorrow, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission are due to agree the Interinstitutional Proclamation on the European Pillar of Social Rights. This is an important development, another move to codify social rights at the heart of the European project. I am concerned at some of what I have been hearing regarding Ireland's role in this process. I have been told from European contacts that Ireland appears to have taken the role normally performed by the United Kingdom seeking to obstruct social rights. In doing so, I believe we have aligned ourselves with countries such as Hungary. I believe we have been demanding changes to the preamble to the declaration to water down the obligation of states to give meaning to the social pillar. Can the Taoiseach state clearly his support for the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights? Can he tell us what, if any, amendments his Government has sought in the preamble and can he explain why he would seek such an amendment?

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I cannot answer that for the Deputy. I am not dealing with it personally. Perhaps a parliamentary question tabled to the Minister, Deputy Regina Doherty, or the Minister of State, Deputy McEntee, might clarify that. I can confirm that I will be attending the EU Social Summit in Gothenburg where I expect we will endorse and adopt the EU social pillar. I look forward to having that opportunity but I am not across the detail.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Is there somebody briefing the Taoiseach on it?

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Not yet.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Will somebody tell me what is in it?

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Just to add some clarity to what Deputy Martin said in regard to the 2012 State pension contributory changes, the question, as I understood it from Deputy McDonald, was about whether anyone had raised it personally with me in the context of the budget negotiations, but nobody from any party did.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Can the Taoiseach answer the question I asked?

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar However, I absolutely acknowledge that people from other parties, including Deputy John Curran and members of my own party, have raised it in the past-----

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald It is in our prebudget speech.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar -----because it is an ongoing issue.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I asked the Taoiseach a question and he answered a previous question. It is important that this House has some input into Ireland's position. It is not good enough for the Taoiseach simply to say that he does not know and he will not tell me what our position is. Can he ask the Minister with responsibility for social protection, if she is the lead person negotiating this, to discuss what Ireland's position is before the decisions are finally made?

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I can, but that is a matter for the House surely, is it not?

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett In regard to the discrimination against pensioners discussed earlier, I and several others raised this issue when the Taoiseach was the Minister for Social Protection, and he acknowledged then that there was problem with the averaging and a problem with people who did not benefit from the homemaker's credit being discriminated against because it was not retrospective. He acknowledged that a long time ago, at least a year to a year to a half ago, in engagements that took place in this House involving Members from both sides of this House. How come it has taken him this long to act on this and when will he do something about it? By the way, in our budget submission, we allocated several hundred million euro for expanding the homemaker's scheme, so we did include it in our budget submission. The Taoiseach said he read them all, so he should know it was in our budget submission at least. He has given no clear commitment as to when he will deal with this discrimination against more than 30,000 pensioners, many of whom are women, although not all, as he said. It is a discrimination and unfairness, nonetheless, which he has acknowledged. He said then that he was going to do something about it but he has still done nothing about it. When is he going to do something about it?

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I will give the Deputy the same answer I gave him at that time. There is a problem with averaging and there is a problem with the homemaker's scheme, but the solution is not to go back to where we were before 2012 because there is a problem with that as well. The proposal that the Department for Employment Affairs and Social Protection has developed what is called the total contributions approach. That will get rid of averaging, it will take into account the total number of contributions a person made over the course of their career - there will be no averaging any more - and it will make provision for a period of homemaking.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett The Taoiseach said that previously but when will that be done?

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As I said earlier, the first thing that had to be done was an actuarial review of the Social Insurance Fund because the way it works is that PRSI contributions go in and PRSI contributions go out. That is how the benefits are paid for. That was the first thing that had to be done. That has been done and it went to Cabinet a few weeks ago. The Minister, Deputy Regina Doherty, will be in a position to publish, for public consultation, the new system, which will be the total contributions approach, and she anticipates being able to do that before the end of the year. As I mentioned earlier, none of these changes is straightforward. One needs to understand the costs involved, how they will be funded, how they will impact on different individuals, different groups of people and all those other matters. That is why it is not straightforward. The fact that there are no computerised records prior to 1985 makes it even more difficult because individual records - paper records - will have to be gone through.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I will take a final question on promised legislation from the leader of the Rural Independent Group.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae There is a commitment in the programme for Government regarding the drainage of roads. Surely in light of yesterday's storm that commitment should also be extended and the Government and the Department with responsibility for the environment, in conjunction with our excellent local authorities, should organise that trees growing on the sides of roads which are in a dangerous condition and could endanger the lives of people passing by should be removed. We have excellent people working in our local authorities and excellent subcontractors who could be engaged in this job of work. The same principle applies to the cutting of hedges. All that maintenance work should be seriously examined. In the interests of road safety, such work should be part of road maintenance-----

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Okay, Deputy.

Deputy Danny Healy-Rae: Information on Danny Healy-Rae Zoom on Danny Healy-Rae It is a serious issue.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae It is very important. This cannot be emphasised enough. If such work were to save just one life, would it not be well worth it?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher The Deputy said this is a commitment in the programme for Government, but it might be a matter for promised legislation.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar It is a matter that was raised earlier. I will certainly ask the Minister, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, to engage with the County and City Management Association to see what could be done, but he will be occupied with more pressing matters for the next week or so.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I have given an assurance that the other Members I mentioned will have the first opportunity to speak tomorrow, after the leaders.

Taxation Order: Motion

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh I move:

That Dáil Éireann approves the following Order in draft:
Double Taxation Relief (Taxes on Income) (Republic of Kazakhstan) Order 2017,
a copy of which was laid before Dáil Éireann on 19th September, 2017.” 

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Is the motion agreed?

Deputies: It is not agreed.

  Question put.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher In accordance with Standing Order 70(2), the division is postponed until the weekly division time on Thursday, 19 October 2017.


Last Updated: 19/02/2020 09:12:08 First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page