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 Header Item Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2017: Report Stage (Resumed) (Continued)
 Header Item Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2017: Order for Report Stage [Private Members]
 Header Item Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2017: Report and Final Stages [Private Members]

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 970 No. 2

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Deputy Shane Ross: Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I move amendment No. 21:

In page 4, between lines 14 and 15, to insert the following:
"(2) Notwithstanding the amendment by subsection (1)(c) of section 29 of the Road Traffic Act 2010, that section shall apply as if it had not been so amended in respect of an offence committed before the commencement of subsection (1)(c).".

  Amendment put.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Vótáil.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Will the Deputies claiming a division please rise?

  Deputies Michael Collins, Michael Fitzmaurice, Danny Healy-Rae, Michael Healy-Rae, and Mattie McGrath rose.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl As fewer than ten Members have risen I declare the question carried. In accordance with Standing Order 72 the names of the Deputies dissenting will be recorded in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Dáil.

  Amendment declared carried.

Bill reported with amendments.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Minister must now recommit the Bill.

Deputy Shane Ross: Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I move:

That the Bill be recommitted in respect of amendment No. 22.

  Question put and agreed to.

Bill recommitted in respect of amendment No. 22.

Deputy Shane Ross: Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I move amendment No. 22:

In page 4, between lines 23 and 24, to insert the following:
"Amendment of section 41 of Road Traffic Act 1994
3. Section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 is amended in subsection (1)(a)—
(a) in subparagraph (ii), by the deletion of "or",

(b) in subparagraph (iii), by the substitution of "permit, or" for "permit,", and

(c) by the insertion of the following subparagraph after subparagraph (iii):
"(iv) is, in the opinion of a member of the Garda Síochána, the holder of a learner permit and is, in the opinion of that member, not driving in accordance with clause (iv) of Regulation 17(6)(b) of the Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 537 of 2006).".".

I propose to extend the operation of section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 so the Garda Síochána can detain vehicles driven by unaccompanied learner drivers. Deputy Fitzmaurice proposes to weaken my amendment by stating section 41 will not apply in these cases if a person has applied for a driving test in the previous six weeks and has not yet received a test date.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I ask the Minister to propose the adjournment of the debate, and we will return to this matter having considered the Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill. I also want to say to Deputies that the filibuster is a legitimate parliamentary tactic, however Members should think as to whether it is always the most appropriate tactic to use and whether its use always represents the best use of parliamentary time.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Debate adjourned.

Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2017: Order for Report Stage [Private Members]

Deputy Róisín Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall I move: "That Report Stage be taken now."

  Question put and agreed to.

Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2017: Report and Final Stages [Private Members]

Acting Chairman (Deputy Declan Breathnach): Information on Declan Breathnach Zoom on Declan Breathnach Amendments Nos. 1 and 2, arising out of committee proceedings, are related and will be discussed together.

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton I move amendment No. 1:

In page 3, line 5, after "amend" to insert "and extend".

Before commenting on the Government's amendments I want to say I am very happy to have the opportunity to discuss the Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2017. Increasing working parents' flexibility and choices, and helping to provide them with the opportunity to spend more time with their children, is a worthwhile aim that we all share. However, as Deputies will appreciate, the development of policy in this area is not straightforward and the legislation is more complex than people realise.

  As the House is aware, the Bill seeks to expand the current parental leave allocation from 18 weeks to 26 weeks. Doing so will place a financial and administrative burden on employers in its own right, but add these eight weeks to the existing provisions for maternity, paternity and carer's leave and existing parental leave entitlements, and the burden becomes significantly bigger. As I will discuss later in further detail, the Office of the Attorney General has highlighted this issue of the cumulative burden on employers and the risk in terms of constitutionality. Therefore, we need to ensure the burden on employers is not disproportionate. To address the needs of businesses and ensure the proposals are proportionate, the Government proposes a phasing in of the expanded entitlements. I will discuss this staggered approach in more detail shortly when I come to the relevant amendment.

  I might also mention the work the Department has engaged in in respect of two other strands of family leave policy. As the House is aware, the programme for partnership Government includes a commitment to increased paid parental leave during the first year of a child's life, as research shows that children benefit most from parental care at this stage of development. That is paid parental leave as distinct from this, which is unpaid parental leave. To further this commitment, the Government established an interdepartmental working group to develop proposals to give effect to the programme commitments. The group has almost completed its work and is in the process of putting the final touches to its report. I am sure colleagues will agree with me when I say that paid parental leave is much better for parents and families than unpaid leave.


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