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Shatter, Alan

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Personal Insolvency Bill: Report Stage (Resumed)

Yesterday evening, I was about to start replying to points made on amendments Nos. 26 and 27, which are similar in seeking to raise the value, in the context of the qualifying criteria for a debt r...More Button

I explained the rationale behind the proposed limit of €1,200 on Committee Stage.More Button

Personal Insolvency Bill: Report Stage (Resumed) (Continued)

As I explained during the discussion of other issues yesterday evening, it is unlikely that vehicles of a modest value would feature to any realistic degree in all of this or would be required to b...More Button

The basic philosophy behind the legislation is that someone who is in serious debt will do what he or she can to realise assets and discharge his or her debt. That is what happens in such circums...More Button

We are also discussing amendment No. 28, which is a technical Government amendment required to improve the construction of the section as a consequence of the insertion of the proposed new subsec...More Button

I am anxious to be practical, but I am conscious that we are both an urban and a rural society and that many more people lived in rural Ireland before there were as many vehicles on the road as the...More Button

We had a constructive engagement on the issue we discussed last evening. I have undertaken to address that issue in the Seanad and to come back then to this House. I am not disposed, however, t...More Button

I know there is no monopoly of wisdom in these matters. In the neighbouring jurisdiction of Northern Ireland, the vehicle value was fixed, relatively recently, at £1,000. I am not persuaded tha...More Button

We were here all last evening. The Deputy did not join us. He should not think I am not listening to him. I can listen to him while reading a note.More Button

I will leave it to Deputy Healy-Rae to go to his local credit union and explain to its board why a €5,000 debt should not be repaid by an individual who is driving around the constituency in a jeep...More Button

I move amendment No. 28:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 29:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 30:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

My response to amendment No. 31 is similar to the response to amendment No. 20 that we discussed yesterday evening. The major approved intermediary for the processing of applications for a debt re...More Button

It will be for the insolvency agency in the context of the consultations it will have with MABS to advise on where it is appropriate to have detailed guidelines and where matters should be left in ...More Button

I move amendment No. 32:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 33:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 34:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 35:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 36:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

The amendment misses the point of the debt relief notice process. The approved intermediary is required to advise the debtor as to the consequences of the application, the criteria and whether a d...More Button

  Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

I move amendment No. 38:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 39:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 40:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 41:More Button

  Amendment agreed to. More Button

I move amendment No. 42:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 43:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 44:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 45:More Button

  Amendment agreed to. More Button

I move amendment No. 46:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 47:More Button

  Amendment agreed to. More Button

I move amendment No. 48:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 49:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 50:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

Yes.More Button

I move amendment No. 52:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 53:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 54:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 55:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 56:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 57:More Button

  Amendment agreed to. More Button

I move amendment No. 58:More Button

I am sure Deputies will appreciate it was never intended that there would be a bar on the initiation of criminal proceedings, where appropriate, because of an application for any of the debt relief...More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 59:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 60:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 61:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 62:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 63:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 64:More Button

I move amendment No. 65:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 66:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 67:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 68:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 69:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 70:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 71:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 72:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 73:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 74:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 75:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 76:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 77:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 78:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 79:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 80:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 81:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 82:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 83:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 84:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 85:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 86:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I thank Deputy Mac Lochlainn for raising this point. There is substantial merit in this proposal and it would appear sensible to add this provision in regard to approved intermediaries. I am advi...More Button

Amendments Nos. 154 and 194 relate to the regulation standards, conditions and conduct of personal insolvency practitioners in the operation of the new debt settlement arrangement and the persona...More Button

I will bring forward a new Part when the Bill goes through the Seanad to replace the current Part 5. The new Part will, by its nature, contain an extensive number of sections. I expect, subject...More Button

I very much appreciate the proposals made in the amendments because they are assisting in the process in which we are engaged. I had hoped to have for Report Stage the amendments required for th...More Button

  Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

I move amendment No. 88:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 88a:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 89:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

It is not clear from the Deputy's amendment whether it is "and ordinarily resident" or "or ordinarily resident" which is intended to be added to the text in section 53. In eith...More Button

The problem is one would need to be both domiciled and ordinarily resident whereas by being ordinarily resident, one can invoke the measures. I can be ordinarily resident in Ireland and have a dom...More Button

  Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

I move amendment No. 92:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 93:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

  Amendment No. 94 not moved.More Button

I move amendment No. 95:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 96:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 97:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 98:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 99:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I am a little confused by this proposal. Deputy Collins raised a similar point on Committee Stage in regard to adding a reference to the debtor being able to object to the court in regard to the i...More Button

I do not understand how this issue arises. I appreciate there may be a misunderstanding over it. We touched on it on Committee Stage. What is proposed in the amendment would make no sense and ...More Button

The Deputy seeks to make a further addition in regard to how the court should make orders, taking into account all the circumstances of the debt. First, it is objectionable to suggest the court ...More Button

Yes.More Button

No. The insolvency service cannot do so.More Button

The process envisages that on the issuing of a protective certificate, engagement may occur to resolve matters using the intermediary between debtor and creditor. Ultimately, if things work out ba...More Button

  Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

I move amendment No. 101:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

The Deputy's amendments seek to reduce the maximum duration of a debt settlement arrangement from 60 to 36 months and in the case of a personal insolvency arrangement, from 72 to 48 months. I have...More Button

Similar considerations apply in regard to the personal insolvency arrangement, which is a unique process not replicated elsewhere. The proposed duration period of 72 months is of a reasonable le...More Button

We have fixed the durations we regard as appropriate in the context of our debt resolution measures as the best means of ensuring consensus between debtors and creditors. I very much acknowledge...More Button

We must also bear in mind that this legislation is not simply about those in mortgage difficulties. Its function, rather, is to deal with the broad range of insolvency circumstances in which peo...More Button

The elasticity in this arrangement will be beneficial for debtors. A shorter period, on the other hand, might encourage creditors, even where they agree to some level of write-off, to demand tha...More Button

What we are saying here is that if debt forgiveness is granted, there must be some period during which the new arrangement that is put in place is abided by and is seen to work. Take, for exampl...More Button

The timeframes set out in the Bill are reasonable.More Button

I could argue the concerns the Deputy is making, but I do have concerns that may result in creditors not agreeing to arrangements because their perspective may be that if it was more elongated they...More Button

What we have here is practical and reasonable and holds out the maximum possibilities of engaging creditors. I am aware, as is the Government, of the importance of those who are currently weighe...More Button

There are a lot of other creditors out there. They are not all banks.More Button

I will reply, first, to the Deputy's example of his constituent in Wicklow. The answer to that is blindingly obvious and the financial institutions will have to address that issue properly. Where...More Button

It will not recoup the extra two thirds and if that individual has no other assets, even if the institution is not willing to write off formally the outstanding debt, there is no way it will ever r...More Button

Consequently, I will repeat yet again what I have stated previously in this House, which is the financial institutions must use this legislation to engage with people whose financial circumstance...More Button

I am anxious to ensure that whatever the position has been of the financial institutions heretofore, that they do so engage. The Deputy gave an example of an event of which he has experience. T...More Button

However, I believe we are heading into a different set of circumstances. I believe that within the financial institutions, in circumstances that are appropriate to debt forgiveness, there has be...More Button

However, there are other issues. Some individuals who are in debt are not engaging with their financial institutions and are simply ignoring any correspondence they receive. It is important tha...More Button

I believe the answer to this is one could not. For example, in the current climate some people may have been in arrears for the past three years and while the banks have not dealt with overall set...More Button

I agree with the Deputy - this is the reason Members are passing this legislation - that what is needed is what I would describe as final resolution. We need the mechanisms that facilitate final...More Button

I note that in arrangements reached between creditors and banks in some instances, certainly for business purposes, there have been arrangements of debt write-off. In cases where has been a pers...More Button

Were one to take the timeframe from the date someone went into arrears, it would not work because the idea is that one works through one's debt over the period from the moment when the agreement ...More Button

While the Deputy is correct about several issues, he is absolutely correct about one particular issue, which is the five or six-year period is a maximum and is not compulsory.More Button

In this regard I agree entirely with his comments. If the financial circumstances are absolutely clear, with no reason to believe they will drastically change and where the deal to be done is blin...More Button

The issue of how much income is retained is a value judgment. We can park the financial institutions for a moment as there are many other categories of creditors. If a person retains 50% of net...More Button

An individual may have had a holiday to the south of France two or three times a year but that practice may have temporarily stopped. If that person's job position changes, leading to additional...More Button

I hope I have addressed the issues raised by Deputy Donnelly. We have probably gone on far too long with the issue with regard to Report Stage time constraints but it is important. I thank the ...More Button

I move amendment No. 103:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 104:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 105:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 106:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 107:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 108:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

The Deputy's amendment proposes to reduce the requirement that 65% of creditors vote in favour at a creditors' meeting to a value of 50% of voters. This proposal was discussed on Committee Stage a...More Button

A threshold of 50% is proposed by Deputy Collins, and that would reduce protection for creditors' rights in a very significant way. It may not incentivise them to conclude arrangements and may, ...More Button

It is worth mentioning an issue we discussed on Committee Stage. When the Law Reform Commission examined the issue for the purpose of its report on personal debt management and debt enforcement,...More Button

Deputy Donnelly stated he would be happy to adopt certain aspects of the English approach but I am not sure he would be happy to do so in this context. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, un...More Button

Bearing in mind the background of the submissions made to the Law Reform Commission and the need to ensure that creditors are brought on board and we deal with this issue in a way that does not cre...More Button

I move amendment No. 110:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 111:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 112:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 113:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 114:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 115:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 116:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I thank the Deputy for this proposed amendment. Changing "may" to "shall" in regard to the requirement on the personal insolvency practitioner, in the context of proposing a variation of a debt se...More Button

I wish to consider the point further with the Parliamentary Counsel and I assure the Deputy that any amendment necessary to achieve consistency, including his amendment, will be brought forward o...More Button

  Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

I move amendment No. 118:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 119:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

Amendments Nos. 120 to 123, inclusive, refer to section 79 and seek to increase the time period for an application by a creditor or personal insolvency practitioner to the appropriate court to have...More Button

Amendments Nos. 124 to 127, inclusive, refer to section 80 and seek to increase from six months to nine the timeframe in which the debtor has been in default sufficient for a debt settlement arra...More Button

  Question, "That the words proposed to be deleted stand", put and declared carried.More Button

  Amendment declared lost.More Button

I move amendment No. 128:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 129:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I oppose the amendments. Deputy Collins seeks to reduce the period prior to the debtor seeking to agree a debt settlement arrangement during which a transaction at under value or at a preference w...More Button

  Question, "That the words proposed to be deleted stand", put and declared carried.More Button

  Amendment declared lost.

  Debate adjourned.More Button

  Sitting suspended at 1.30 p.m. and resumed at 2.30 p.m.More Button

Defence Forces Reorganisation

Was asked: if he shares the concern expressed in some quarters that the changes in the Defence Forces could threaten the security of the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In the context of the very serious economic crisis the country is experiencing, all elements of defence expenditure have been critically reviewed to deliver savings. In this context, initiatives s...More Button

I am aware there has been some dissatisfaction expressed regarding the perceived impact of certain required changes on particular localities or individuals. However, it would be ironic if initia...More Button

The recent reorganisation proposals were framed in the context of a defence and security environment assessment, which was published earlier this year in the Department of Defence and Defence For...More Button

As Minister for Defence I am committed to maintaining the capacity of the Defence Forces to carry out the full range of tasks assigned to them, whether by Government or by request from An Garda S...More Button

All Members agree the murder of Mr. David Black was an appalling and disgraceful atrocity. It was the sacrifice of the life of a good man for the achievement of no identifiable objective. It was ...More Button

I entirely reject the suggestion made by the outgoing president of PDFORRA. I regret that he did not give greater thought to what he was saying. Unfortunately, at these events, some members of ...More Button

I will give a quick example in the context of subversive groups and criminal gangs. Pursuant to their role in rendering aid to the civil power, the Defence Forces continue to address the problem...More Button

I entirely reject the suggestion that morale is at an all-time low. We have extraordinarily efficient and well-trained Defence Forces. A substantial number of them are undertaking UN duty in sout...More Button

The context of reorganisation and the arrangements being made in that respect are the subject of another question which I will answer shortly, and perhaps I will deal with the issue raised by the...More Button

Was asked: his response to claims by the outgoing President of PDFORRA at its recent conference that, because of cutbacks, the Defence Forces are not fit for purpose; and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

Was asked: the resources he has provided for the re-skilling of members of the Defence Forces and if he will demonstrate that they are adequate at this time.More Button

Was asked: in the context of the reorganisation of the Defence Forces, the criteria for relocating a member of the Defence Forces from one post to another.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 6, 14 and 20 together.More Button

Again we are coming back to the issue Deputy Ó Fearghaíl raised earlier. I am sure Members will not be surprised to hear me say that I absolutely reject the claim of the former president of PDFO...More Button

Crucially, the representative associations in the Defence Forces, including PDFORRA, have been closely engaged in the implementation planning process as part of the Croke Park agreement and have ...More Button

Was asked: the strategic rationale for relocating Defence Forces personnel from McKee Barracks to Cathal Brugha Barracks.More Button

Was asked: the way the proposals for the reorganisation of the Defence Forces as applied to Dublin have improved their capacity to discharge their responsibilities to our capital city and the strategic hub of...More Button

Was asked: if he will postpone his plans for the restructuring of the Defence Forces until the White Paper on Defence is published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans for the restructuring of the Defence Forces organisation, including plans to abolish the 4th Western Brigade; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the basis for the reorganisation of the Defence Forces such as closure of military barracks, brigade reduction or other similar measures of such policy is deemed to be in line with international tr...More Button

Was asked: if he will set out his preferred option for the future development of the Defence Forces; if this is in line with the strategy of senior military authorities; and if he will make a statement on the...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 17, 23, 25, 35, 164 and 165 together.More Button

The current reorganisation of the Defence Forces was in response to the Government decision to stabilise the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel. At this revised strength c...More Button

In July of this year, the Chief of Staff and Secretary General submitted agreed reorganisation proposals for my consideration, which I accepted. These proposals had due regard to Defence Forces o...More Button

The recommendations outlined a Permanent Defence Force Army structure based on two Brigades with the brigade headquarters located in Cork and Dublin. Other key aspects of this reorganisation incl...More Button

A fundamental and major organisational change such as this one required a holistic approach rather than focusing on local issues and concerns. The proposed future location of Headquarters and Uni...More Button

The implementation of the reorganisation is underway and all personnel in the Permanent Defence Force have now been briefed on the reorganisation proposals. They will receive further briefings an...More Button

The Green and White Paper process is scheduled for completion by the end of 2013. In the context of the immediate financial realities and in order to maintain the operational capabilities of the ...More Button

I am firmly committed to maintaining the capacity of the Permanent Defence Force to meet their operational requirements. The current reorganisation is an essential part of that process.More Button

Was asked: if personnel attached to Dún Uí Mhaoilíosa, County Galway, will be required to relocate as part of plans for the reorganisation of the Defence Forces; the number of such personnel; the process by w...More Button

The 1 Infantry Battalion Dún Uí Mhaoilíosa Galway will increase its establishment from 318 to 496 as part of the Defence Forces reorganisation. Consequently all personnel currently serving in or at...More Button

Defence Forces Reserve Strength

Was asked: his views on the future role of the Reserve Defence ForcesMore Button

Defence Forces Reserve Strength (Continued)

Since its launch in July 2004 the Reserve Defence Force review implementation plan has provided the framework for the development of the Reserve. This plan sought to progressively develop Reserve ...More Button

The recommendations in the report encompass all aspects of the Reserve, including future roles for the Reserve. There is no suggestion that the Reserve will be abolished. I can give assurances in...More Button

The Deputy must appreciate that it would be premature of me to engage in discussions at this point, pending completion of the VFM process which deals with recommendations and the appropriate resp...More Button

The nominal membership of the Reserve is substantially greater than the number who engage in Reserve training and are functioning members of the Reserve. In the light of the reorganisation of th...More Button

I expect, very shortly, to be in a position to publish the report. I hope we will discuss it at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality where we can have a more free-fl...More Button

There is a real difference between the establishment figures of the Reserve and the actual figures. The Army Reserve establishment is 9,292 and the effective strength is 4,293, although not all of...More Button

We must look at the role the Reserve should play. Given the professionalism of the Permanent Defence Force, we are fortunate that the Reserve has not had to be called out for any major functions...More Button

These issues are addressed in the VFM. I hope to be in a position to publish it in a few weeks at most, certainly during the course of this month. We will then have a constructive discussion at...More Button

Army Barracks Closures

Was asked: the progress that has been made in arranging an alternative use for the former Kickham Barracks site in Clonmel, County Tipperary; if he has examined the option of relocating the Clonmel Garda Stat...More Button

Since the announcement of the Government decision on barrack closures in November 2011, the Department of Defence has written to each Government Department and various agencies and local authoritie...More Button

In this regard, there have been discussions between officials from the Department and a number of other State agencies, including the Department of Justice and Equality - I am also the Minister f...More Button

Army Barracks Closures (Continued)

The Deputy knows the Government he supported in this House for many years left the gardaí in the circumstances and conditions he is referring to. At a time when the Government he supported was fla...More Button

I am sorry if the truth gets in the way of the fiction the Deputy likes to constantly perpetrate in this Chamber. The reality is that he supported a Government for years that failed to provide th...More Button

We are looking at the possibility of providing a Garda facility within the confines of the barracks. It is an issue that does not just involve my Department. It also involves the Office of Public...More Button

As the Deputy knows well, this property is owned by the Department of Defence and, as was the case with the previous Governments he supported, it is recognised that barracks which closed were val...More Button

The Deputy should give serious consideration to applying to participate in the Kilkenny comedy weekend which is run on an annualised basis.More Button

I am sure he would be a star turn.More Button

As the Deputy seemed to miss, the Office of Public Works has responsibility for Garda stations. If the funding must be provided, it will come from the OPW and resources must be identified. I know...More Button

Defence Forces Ombudsman

Was asked: the reason the Office of Defence Ombudsman has been downgraded; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The primary role of the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces, which is provided for in the Ombudsman (Defence Forces) Act 2004, is to provide an independent appeals process for members of the Defence F...More Button

Recent trends show a significant increase in the number of redress of wrongs complaints being resolved within the military system, thus reducing the number of cases being referred to the ombudsma...More Button

I can now inform the House that yesterday the Government decided, on foot of a recommendation from me, that it would advise the President to appoint Mr. Patrick Anthony McCourt as Ombudsman for t...More Button

There are no plans currently for changes in the role of the ombudsman or to amend the legislation in relation to the powers or functions of the ombudsman. More Button

The Defence Forces have a full-time Minister for Defence. As has been my practice for about 30 years, I do two days work in one day by starting at 5 a.m. and finishing some time between 10 p.m. an...More Button

The ombudsman is becoming part-time for the very reason the Deputy gave.More Button

Was asked: if he is satisfied that his decision to change the role of the Defence Forces Ombudsman from full time to part time is adequate for the duties entailed in the role.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the recent decision to downgrade the post of Defence Forces Ombudsman from a full-time to a part-time post; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 13 and 31 together. More Button

The primary role of the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces, which is provided for in the Ombudsman (Defence Forces) Act 2004, is to provide an independent appeals process for members of the Defence...More Button

The 2004 Act also provides that, subject to certain conditions, the Ombudsman may accept complaints directly from former members of the Defence Forces. More Button

The office of the Ombudsman is now well established and a number of administrative and systemic issues identified by the outgoing Ombudsman have been addressed. This has contributed to improvemen...More Button

Recent trends show a significant increase in the number of redress of wrongs complaints being resolved within the military system, thus reducing the number of cases being referred to the Ombudsma...More Button

I can now inform the House that yesterday the Government decided, on foot of a recommendation from me, that it would advise the President to appoint Mr. Patrick Anthony McCourt as Ombudsman for t...More Button

There are no plans currently for changes in the role of the Ombudsman or to amend the legislation in relation to the powers or functions of the Ombudsman.More Button

  Question No. 14 answered with Question No. 6.More Button

Defence Forces Ombudsman (Continued)

It is appropriate that we pay tribute to the former Ombudsman for the Defence Forces for the work she did. Over the initial years of her term in office, she identified a range of what I describe a...More Button

There has now been a substantial drop in the level of complaints. Better procedures are being applied within the military. There is less cause for complaint. Difficulties that were previously ...More Button

We have considered other reforms that could be introduced. One of the issues that arose with the outgoing Ombudsman for the Defence Forces is whether the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces would e...More Button

I suppose it would not have happened if reforms had not been introduced. The Office of the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces is independent. It is for members of the military in circumstances wher...More Button

I regret that a representative organisation such as PDFORRA, when it holds its annual conference, feels compelled to make wild complaints about all sorts of issues. It seems to be something that...More Button

-----in which they are engaged should be dealt with less efficiently to give more work to the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces?More Button

I do not believe that is the case. Incidentally the Deputy might be interested to know that the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces makes recommendations to the Minister and the Minister must decide ...More Button

Should I give the reply for the record of the House?More Button

Is it in order that we give Deputy Donnelly a written reply on that matter? I am agreeable to doing that if it facilitates him.More Button

Unless there is some procedural difficulty, I am happy that he gets a written reply.More Button

Defence Forces Reorganisation (Continued)

Training requirements arising from the reorganisation will only become fully apparent as personnel are allocated appointments in the new structure. Relevant military personnel, in conjunction wi...More Button

The Government recognises that the reorganisation currently underway is a major change in the organisation and structure of the Defence Forces. The extent of it should not be underestimated. I a...More Button

I am not aware that a large number of skilled personnel are actively disengaging from the Defence Forces. There has been no evidence to this effect since the announcement of the reorganisation. R...More Button

We have moved a wonderful distance in this country. I do not mean that sarcastically. It is particularly interesting and important that Sinn Féin is concerned about the future of the Defence Forc...More Button

We are involved in a reorganisation which has resulted in some barracks closures. People are uncomfortable with change. We cannot continue to operate the Defence Forces in the year 2012 on the ...More Button

As regards personnel and how they will be affected by the reorganisation, individual preferences to serve in particular geographical locations will be considered in the context of maintaining Def...More Button

When it comes to identifying whether a particular unit with particular skills should be located in Cork, Athlone or Dublin, I must rely on the operational judgments and expertise of the Chief of ...More Button

I am not, as Minister, going to take it on my shoulders to assume I have the military expertise to know where to properly locate individuals. Prior to our announcing the location of the headquarte...More Button

When I say there is opportunity in all of this for members of the Defence Forces, those who want to acquire different skills will have an opportunity, where appropriate, to change units. Certain...More Button

I have met PDFORRA in the past. I attended a previous conference. The Minister of State attended the most recent conference. It is very valuable and important that he is engaged in this matter. ...More Button

-----or perhaps the need to ensure the media, who are absent from the Chamber today, take some notice of an issue relating to defence.More Button

I very much welcome Sinn Féin's support for our Defence Forces. I recognise its recognition that on this side of the island there is only one legitimate army, which can call itself Óglaigh na hÉ...More Button

-----in so far as either the Defence Forces or the Garda Síochána sought to engage and through investigative work and intelligence work curtailed the ambition of those who existed on this island wh...More Button

It is much better that we have these rows in this Parliament than re-engage in other areas.More Button

I am not sure what relevance Palestine has to our discussion on the Defence Forces.More Button

The Deputy should not articulate prejudices in this Parliament.More Button

The Deputy should not articulate his prejudices in this Parliament.More Button

Public Sector Allowances Payments

Was asked: if he will give an undertaking to maintain the border allowance for those Defence Forces personnel currently in receipt of it; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will maintain the border allowance payment in the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 7 and 158 together.

  Border duty allowance was introduced in January 1972 and is still in existence. It was introduced because of some activiti...More Button

Public Sector Allowances Payments (Continued)

It was during Deputy O'Dea's time as Minister for Defence that the allowance was terminated and that the aforementioned conciliation process took place. This ensured that, from 2009 onwards, the a...More Button

With regard to the review of allowances by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the outcome of the Government decision, in the interest of reducing the pay bill, the Department of ...More Button

Irish Red Cross Governance

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the situation with regard to the governance of the Red Cross; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Pursuant to the Red Cross Act of 1938, the Irish Red Cross Society was established by Government order in 1939 as an independent charitable body corporate with full power to manage and administer i...More Button

On the last question, the society's constitution now provides that a member of the board of directors must stand down for one full three-year term once he or she has served on the board for two con...More Button

Both the approval of the amendment order and the subsequent nomination of these high calibre individuals to the general assembly of the society represent very significant and important steps. In...More Button

Defence Forces Veterans Associations

Was asked: if he envisages any support being provided from his Department for the Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women in view of the assistance the organisation provides for former Defence Forces...More Button

Was asked: the supports the State will provide to the needs of ex- Defence Forces members in difficulties and to organisations such as the Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women; and if he will make...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 9 and 34 together.More Button

The Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women, ONE, which has enjoyed the long-standing official recognition of the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces, is an organisation dedicat...More Button

In recognition of the work that ONE undertakes on behalf of ex-servicemen and ex-servicewomen, my Department provides to it an annual subvention of €40,000. This annual subvention is paid in qua...More Button

In addition to the funding provided to ONE, my Department also provides annual funding to a second officially recognised veterans association, the Irish United Nations Veterans Association, IUNVA...More Button

Clearly, the work that ONE undertakes makes a very tangible difference to the lives of many former members of the Defence Forces each year. In this context, it is appropriate that I acknowledge ...More Button

Defence Forces Veterans Associations (Continued)

The bottom line is that this country is faced with substantial constrictions on its resources. There is no point in my pretending otherwise. I am obliged to fight my battle in Cabinet to ensure w...More Button

I am happy to hear the Deputy's proposals.More Button

In regard to some of the services to which he referred, including housing, social welfare supports and a range of health services, it is important to note that they are provided by other Departme...More Button

Apart from ONE, there are several other organisations offering support to veterans. In fact, it seems that a new one is posited at least once a year. It simply is not possible for the Departmen...More Button

As I said, I greatly value the work done by ONE and similar organisations. I assure the Deputy that if I had some spare cash somewhere, I would happily provide additional supports. I cannot, howe...More Button

  Written Answers follow Adjournment.More Button

Cyber Security Policy (Continued)

I would like to start by thanking the Deputy for raising what is a very important issue. I am aware of the growing public concern, especially after a number of recent tragic cases to which the Dep...More Button

Cyberbullying is a manifestation of bullying and refers to instances where it is carried on using modern technology or, more correctly, abusing that technology. It seems more prevalent among you...More Button

Bullying is essentially a form of harassment and, as such, falls within the provisions of the Non-fatal Offences against the Person Act 1997. Section 10 of the Act sets out the details of the of...More Button

I understand that the issue has already been examined elsewhere, including in Scotland and Australia, and I hope that we can learn from those jurisdictions. The Deputy referred to the position i...More Button

I would urge anyone who is the victim of any kind of bullying, including cyberbullying, to report it to the Garda Síochána. I would also urge parents and other family members to support and enco...More Button

I realise, however, that many may also require assistance in coming to understand and deal with the problem. In that respect, I think it worthwhile to refer to several of the services available ...More Button

The Safer Internet Programme, which is administered by the office of Internet safety in my Department, supports helplines for parents and teachers run by the ISPCC, the National Parents Council (...More Button

The Safer Internet Day takes place in February each year. It is an international event with an agreed theme. The theme for 2013 is "Connect with Respect" and I expect the emphasis will be on us...More Button

The law has a role to play and I hope we can increase its effectiveness in the context of any reforms that may arise from the Law Reform Commission's deliberations. I cannot emphasise enough, ho...More Button

Heightened public awareness of the problem can only contribute to a recognition that such behaviour is completely unacceptable, whether it occurs in schools, the workplace or elsewhere. The sad ...More Button

The important thing is that young people who find themselves at the receiving end of bullying on a particular social media site understand that there is no compulsion to access that site. It doe...More Button

An additional issue, which is not given adequate consideration, is the extent to which today, in what is a very new world, people's lives - both adults and children - can be dominated by social m...More Button

I feel particularly strongly about this issue. It is not just about the law or the Garda, it is about families and hearing teenagers' voices when they say they have a difficulty. It is also abo...More Button

I assure the Deputy that we will give this matter the urgency it requires. However, I do not want to enact laws that do not address the problem and which, in the end, just appear decorative. It i...More Button

All Members can recall their own school days, when it was rare for a school to exist that did not have someone who was identified as the school bully. Unfortunately, the tragic reality is that tar...More Button

All that said, it is terribly important to recognise that as a society in general, we wish to see young people benefit from the amazing new technologies that exist. New technology has had an ove...More Button

I particularly thank the Deputy for raising this issue today, thereby giving Members an opportunity to touch on it, because that is all they are doing. I share the Deputy's view that interventio...More Button

Courts Service Issues

But everyone would be able to park happily.More Button

I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. As the Deputy will be aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of courts is the responsibility of the service and as Minist...More Button

A comprehensive review of venues has recently been completed, the purpose of which was to establish a general framework within which venues could be considered for closure, taking into account a ...More Button

The service has advised that the identification of venues as part of the review process does not conclusively mean that the identified venues will close. I am informed no decision will be taken ...More Button

As for the particular venues mentioned by the Deputy, I have been informed by the service that no sittings have been held in Kinsale since 1 October 2010, due to the condition of the courtroom an...More Button

Courts Service Issues (Continued)

With regard to Skibbereen and Clonakilty, I am advised that the standard of the facilities, numbers of sittings and caseloads require examination. The Deputy will appreciate that the retention of ...More Button

Since its establishment the Courts Service has amalgamated more than 150 venues while at the same time the service has benefitted from a very substantial capital investment to upgrade larger cour...More Button

I thank the Deputy for raising the matter and I appreciate his interest in the administration of justice in County Cork, as well as his concerns about his constituency and those who utilise exist...More Button

All the issues mentioned by the Deputy were raised by me some time ago in an official meeting with representatives of the Courts Service. It operates independently and makes independent decisions,...More Button

It is vital there is joined up thinking and synergy in what is going on, especially when dealing with stakeholders. The Courts Service must engage with An Garda Síochána if, for example, there i...More Button

An unseen piece of the jigsaw is the cost in court staff in locations that are open very rarely. One must consider the travel time involved, the moving of files and documentation and the efficie...More Button

Many people seek remedies in small and occasional District Court sittings, and if those people were told they could travel ten or 15 miles but that the case would be dealt with three months soone...More Button

There is also the issue of cost in the context of the legal profession. As a member of that profession, I know that with some of the smaller courts there can be a reasonable assurance that pract...More Button

As I understand it from the Courts Service, these locations are being reviewed, and it is not a given that from those reviews the courts under examination will close. It is important that this b...More Button

Personal Insolvency Bill 2012: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage

The amendment would reduce the period of commencement of a review of the operation of a personal insolvency arrangement under the legislation from five years to one year. This would be the statuto...More Button

The statutory review will probably be a look back at how the legislation operated over a period of years. The original idea was that it would be five years, but I believe reducing it to three ye...More Button

In that context, perhaps the Deputy will consider withdrawing the amendment.More Button

The intention would be that the review period would commence after the legislation has been working for three full years. I accept what the Deputy says. We do not need a review period that takes,...More Button

Personal Insolvency Bill 2012: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage (Continued)

I want to give some thought to what the period will be. It may be that it is to be published no later than, for example, six months or whatever period is appropriate. If the review is completed e...More Button

That will happen without me needing to do anything further. It is envisaged that the insolvency agency will produce an annual report, which will be laid before both Houses. It is open to the Join...More Button

I assume the insolvency agency will be able to produce information on the number of debt settlement arrangements and personal insolvency arrangements furnished to the courts, the number approved ...More Button

  Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

I thank the Deputies for their contributions. I propose to respond to amendments Nos. 133 and 138 together. Both amendments propose to reduce the indicative limit for the aggregate amount of secu...More Button

The Deputy's proposals may be based on some comment of the troika, and this was raised. Such comments, in so far as any were made, were based on a complete misunderstanding of the innovative deb...More Button

What we propose is not a simple option. Deputy Boyd Barrett is right. One of the important aspects of the option is to provide a mechanism whereby people who are living in what I describe as re...More Button

We are providing an alternative to putting people in bankruptcy. Why is bankruptcy not, necessarily, the best alternative? First, because it means the official assignee will sell all the bankru...More Button

Some Deputies may see this as providing an easy mechanism for speculators, and it has been misunderstood in that way. The word "speculator" is interesting. It means that anyone who has invested...More Button

The provision is more sophisticated than that. The Bill provides an alternative mechanism to bankruptcy which should, and I hope will, assist people who are in homes with negative equity, but wh...More Button

This is insolvency legislation. It does not just deal with mortgage and the family home. It applies across a broad range of areas to put in place facilities whereby recalibrating someone's fina...More Button

Let us consider the buy-to-let sector. Some people borrowed insane sums of money from banks, who were throwing it at them. Deputy Boyd Barrett and I frequently disagree on issues, but I agree w...More Button

A number of individuals in that situation are, I presume, engaging with the banks and meeting their obligation to pay. Inevitably, there are some who will go to into bankruptcy. What happens wh...More Button

In the process we are putting in place, there are judgments to be made. A financial institution may take the view that a personal insolvency arrangement may not recoup as much as it should but i...More Button

This arrangement provides for a rescue approach, as opposed to the classical liquidation approach in bankruptcy. The rescue approach is designed not only for home mortgages, no matter how import...More Button

The limit of €3 million is not the critical element here. When the Select Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality dealt with the Bill and gave consideration to the true implications of how it...More Button

This is not an easy option. I was asked one morning on Newstalk to explain the €3 million provision in one line. The interviewer got very stressed when I said it could not be explained in one l...More Button

The sad reality is there are many individuals who might have personal indebtedness of more than €1 million who would not fall into the caricature category of the property speculator, an evil inca...More Button

At European Union level a new instrument is being considered to deal with insolvency and bankruptcy and to look at non-judicial alternatives to bankruptcy. There has been substantial European en...More Button

I appreciate that looked at superficially a person would wonder what we are doing and where the €3 million figure came from. I was working on the assumption that this would be misunderstood from...More Button

For people in difficulties with the family home, this has the added advantage that in bankruptcy, the home is sold while under this mechanism it is not. With this mechanism, however, if a home i...More Button

I have already said that it is easy to present it that way.More Button

It is getting close to Christmas.More Button

And have another €600,000.More Button

Deputy Mac Lochlainn is not listening to what I said about that issue. He is trying to equate the debt relief notice provision, which allows for the writing off of €20,000 without a compulsion to ...More Button

Deputy Niall Collins made an interesting point. He suggested that instead of this €3 million provision, people should work through their problems or they could go into bankruptcy. Working throu...More Button

The reality is that this is not an easy way out. I believe the Deputies will realise that when we start working it. There is a question about the relevance of any financial limit in circumstances...More Button

I move amendment No. 134:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I fail to see how the amendment adds anything to the understanding of the provisions in section 88. Rather, it risks confusion by seeking to add a reference to creditors other than the secured cre...More Button

  Question, "That the words proposed to be deleted stand", put and declared carried.More Button

  Amendment declared lost.More Button

I move amendment No. 136:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 137:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 137a:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 139:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 140:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 141:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 142:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 143:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 144:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 145:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 146:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

The Deputy proposes to delete the current reference to the maximum extension of a personal insolvency arrangement by a period of not more than 12 months and allow the arrangement to be a maximum of...More Button

It would afford an opportunity. I will give an example. They Deputy is aware that as one goes through working an arrangement there may be temporary circumstances which result, with the assistance...More Button

Not automatically but it may suit the debtor and creditor to agree an extra year on the basis that it would then work. It would be open to them to do so at an early stage also, but it is not the p...More Button

  Question, "That the words proposed to be deleted stand", put and declared carried.More Button

  Amendment declared lost.More Button

The Deputy proposes the deletion of the current reference to certain categories of debt in section 95. These debts, which broadly refer to charges of a local authority nature, debts owed under the...More Button

If it were not, a range of people in an apartment block, perhaps including elderly retirees, would ultimately have the cost of the debt fall their shoulders in so far as there was a shortfall of in...More Button

There are certain debts that people will have to discharge because of their nature. If there is a sum due to a local authority, it will have to be discharged because the shortfall would effectivel...More Button

The proposal would have an impact on too many disparate individuals. We do not want to create circumstances in which owners of apartment blocks find themselves paying money to management compani...More Button

They will have to be paid to meet the financial obligation. It may be a question of dialogue with the management company that represents the owners; those in question are not people who are benefi...More Button

  Question, "That the words proposed to be deleted stand", put and declared carried.More Button

  Amendment declared lost.More Button

Section 98 sets out a number of detailed requirements, primarily in regard to the valuation and treatment of a security held by a secured creditor in a personal insolvency arrangement. It is not c...More Button

I move amendment No. 156:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 157:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 158:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I thank the Deputy for tabling this amendment because it highlights an important element of discussion in regard to this issue, on which it is worth spending a few minutes.More Button

The Deputy's amendment No. 159 essentially concerns repossession applications before the courts. It does not relate to personal insolvency arrangement applications as provided for under this Bill,...More Button

I accept that the Deputy's motivation in this amendment is to offer further elements of protection to home owners in arrears who may be facing repossession proceedings. His proposal is well inte...More Button

Amendment No. 182 seeks to amend section 116 in respect of the grounds upon which a creditor may appeal to the court to set aside a personal insolvency arrangement which was agreed by majority vo...More Button

I must reject these amendments for the reasons I have outlined, but I thank the Deputy for raising the issue. There is a need for legislation to address the Dunne judgment and work is already un...More Button

Financial institutions will cut deals because the reality of the current situation is that distressed borrowers are far more likely than not to be in negative equity. That is the reality we are fa...More Button

If, on the other hand, we are talking about a single property with an equity in excess of what is owed, I do not see any reason that a bank would not seek to ensure it receives the full sum ultim...More Button

I anticipate that the mechanism we are discussing here will be particularly helpful in circumstances where individuals are in negative equity and their income does not facilitate them in discharg...More Button

It is not our intention in this legislation to give individuals who are in positive equity and not paying their mortgage a free pass whereby some of the debt due to a financial institution is wri...More Button

I move amendment No. 160:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 161:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 162:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I will deal with amendments Nos. 163 to 168, inclusive, together. The amendments seek to reduce the voting proportions in respect of all creditors. A sub-class of secured and unsecured credit is ...More Button

Amendments Nos. 163 and 164 concern proposals to reduce the overall level of votes required at a creditors' meeting to prove a personal insolvency arrangement from the 65% provided for in the Bil...More Button

Amendments Nos. 165 and 166 propose to alter the proportions of secured credit that is required to prove a personal insolvency arrangement below 50%. More Button

Amendments Nos. 167 and 168 similarly propose the same proportions of unsecured credit as required to prove a personal insolvency arrangement. I am not convinced that the reductions, as proposed...More Button

I have considered the various proportions but at this point I have no better alternative proposals. I do not wish to be unfair to Deputies but I have not heard any convincing arguments from them...More Button

I move amendment No. 169:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 170:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 171:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 172:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 173:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 174:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

Amendments Nos. 175 to 180, inclusive, essentially replicate the proposals made by Deputies Mac Lochlainn and Niall Collins in section 106 of the Bill, specifically amendments Nos. 163 to 168, incl...More Button

  Question, "That the words proposed to be deleted stand", put and declared carried.



  Amendment declared lost.



  Amend...More Button

I move amendment No. 181:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 183:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 184:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 185:More Button

The new subsection (3) provides for the powers of the appropriate court in respect of an application by the personal insolvency practitioner to have the personal insolvency arrangement terminated u...More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I am opposed to this amendment, which is similar to amendments Nos. 124 to 127, inclusive, regarding the period in which a debt settlement arrangement is deemed to have failed. There is no point i...More Button

  Question, "That the words proposed to be deleted stand", put and agreed to.More Button

  Amendment declared lost.More Button

I move amendment No. 187:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 188:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

I move amendment No. 189:More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

The amendment allows me to agree broadly with the thrust of the proposal from the Deputy. I am of the view that the amount of €650 in regard to a debtor seeking to obtain credit without informing ...More Button

  Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

I am advised that the proposal from the Deputy is not necessary. It would not add to the comprehension of section 130, which deals with the setting off of assets and debts between a debtor and a c...More Button

  Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

I welcome that the Deputy has raised these three issues. We are considering them in the context of Seanad amendments to the Bill. I share his concerns. We have had an opportunity to work through...More Button

The bank account issue is important. We are considering whether we can incorporate an amendment into the Bill to deal with that issue. If people enter into a debt settlement arrangement or PIA,...More Button

I am concerned about another issue. One may not have a credit card, but there is no reason one should not have a debit card if it is usable on a bank account with no overdraft facility. The deb...More Button

In terms of bankruptcy, the Deputy is right. Perhaps an individual who is bankrupt can maintain a single bank account, but only in the context of there being no overdraft facility so that anothe...More Button

The same issue would apply to debt cards as opposed to credit cards. It is my intention to revisit those. More Button

The determination clauses in contracts are interesting. Clearly, one does not want individuals who are very competent in their jobs but who, for a number of reasons, have got themselves into fin...More Button

There are other areas and there are particular professions in which by virtue of becoming bankrupt one is not entitled to practice one's profession, and in circumstances where the bankruptcy has ...More Button

One of the matters about this legislation is the huge areas it must cover and its complexity. I suspect the day it is enacted, we will all think of something we should have addressed which is wh...More Button

I am afraid I will not surprise the Deputy by saying I cannot agree to the two year instead of the three year issue. There is an issue about having a neighbouring jurisdiction which allows peopl...More Button

There is a very dramatic change from where we have come in regard to the three year provision. I am afraid I cannot accept the Deputy's amendment for the period of automatic discharge from bankr...More Button

Our objective here is to provide a reasonable period of time for an individual to be within bankruptcy but for bankruptcy to no longer be perceived as a penal remedy which disables individuals fo...More Button

It elongates it otherwise.More Button

I agree with the Deputy that we need to change the ethos and culture. I would not regard bankruptcy as a mark of business stature but many individuals, who have developed very successful businesse...More Button

To take up the point made by Deputy Donnelly, this is complex legislation which contains many new mechanisms. It is very important that we communicate to the general public how it is intended to w...More Button

On Deputy Collins's query, there is no board for the insolvency service. The chief executive officer who has been appointed came through the public appointments system. There will be advertisem...More Button

No, but the connectivity between the agency and the Houses of the Oireachtas will be through an annual report that will be produced and laid before both Houses. The justice committee will be engag...More Button

I thank the Deputies for their contributions on all Stages. It has been a lengthy process since we published the heads of the Bill. That was a worthwhile process as it facilitated the justice c...More Button

I hope we have produced a balanced legislative measure that will be of genuine assistance to those who are in serious debt and are unable to discharge it, that is, those who genuinely cannot pay ...More Button

I particularly thank Deputies who have been engaged in the marathon we have run in the last 24 hours on Report Stage. We will take on board a number of the suggestions for further improvements i...More Button

As I said in the course of this debate, many of the regulatory mechanisms already exist in other contexts. It is a question of adapting them to the insolvency legislation. A substantial amount ...More Button

There will also be a new Part providing for the revision of courts legislation, which is necessary to operate the new insolvency processes efficiently and effectively. On the various Stages we h...More Button

The transfer of the functions of the Official Assignee in Bankruptcy from the Courts Service to the insolvency service will take place. It makes sense that the Official Assignee in Bankruptcy is...More Button

We have been trial-testing the legislation by examining it section by section and seeing how, in practice, it would pan out in different debt scenarios, as suggested by Deputy Donnelly. Doing so i...More Button

I thank Members, particularly the three present in the Chamber, for the attention they have given to the Bill. The debate and discussion we had is very important. I have been on that side of th...More Button

I hope the legislation will have been enacted by the time we get to Christmas. For our part, we will do everything possible to ensure it is successful in addressing the issues we are trying to a...More Button

EU Battlegroups

Was asked: if he will provide an update on Ireland's participation in the Austro-German Battlegroup; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Ireland is currently participating in the Austro-German led Battlegroup, which will be on stand-by until 31 December 2012. In 2010, the then Government approved Ireland’s participation in this Batt...More Button

Under the Battlegroup Concept, Battlegroups are designed to be operational within 5-10 days of approval of an operation by the Council of the European Union. Battlegroup operations must be susta...More Button

Training of the manoeuvre elements of the Austro-German Battlegroup took place in the contributing Member States - Irish troops were trained in Ireland. There were no joint field exercises or ma...More Button

Any decision to deploy the Austro-German Battlegroup will continue to be taken by unanimity by the Council of the European Union. In addition, any decision by Ireland to participate in a specific...More Button

Was asked: the cost of the Irish Army participation in the EU Battle Groups; the cost allocated for training and participation if they are actually dispatched to take part in a war; and if he will make a stat...More Button

Ireland is currently participating in the Austro-German led Battlegroup, which will be on stand-by until 31 December 2012. In 2010, the then Government approved Ireland's participation in this Batt...More Button

Any decision by Ireland to participate in a specific Battlegroup operation is subject to our national sovereign decision-making procedures - “Triple Lock”, i.e. UN mandate, Government and Dáil ap...More Button

Under the Battlegroup Concept, Battlegroups are designed to be operational within 5-10 days of approval from the Council of the European Union and must be sustainable for at least 30 days which c...More Button

  Question No. 31 answered with Question No. 13.More Button

  Question No. 32 answered with Question No. 12.More Button

White Paper on Defence

Was asked: his plans for a new White Paper on Defence; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The White Paper on Defence has provided the policy framework and development strategy for Defence since 2000. The planning certainty arising from the policy provisions of the current White Paper un...More Button

The process of preparing a Green Paper on Defence has commenced. Following Government approval for the process for the development of a new Green/White Paper on Defence, an interdepartmental grou...More Button

The Green Paper is expected to be published at the end of 2012. When published, the Green Paper will initiate and inform a broad consultative process as part of the development of a new White Pap...More Button

The new White Paper on Defence is scheduled for completion at the end of 2013 and will address Defence Policy and inform long term capability requirements.More Button

Overseas Missions

Was asked: if he expects the Defence Forces to undertake any new United Nations missions in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of countries across the world in which members of the Defence Forces are serving; and the requests he may be considering in other countries and new missions.More Button

Was asked: the total number of military personnel serving overseas on various missions UN or otherwise in each of the past four years to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 12, 32 and 168 together.

  Ireland has offered, through the United Nations Stand-by Arrangements System (UNSAS), to provide up to 850 military pe...More Button

Was asked: the timeframe he proposes to keep seven members of the Defence Forces in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Defence Forces are primarily deployed on overseas missions in support of international peace and security under UN mandates. On 20 December 2001, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Re...More Button

Ireland has participated in the NATO–led UN mandated mission since 5 July 2002, following the Government Decision of 2 July 2002, authorising the provision of seven members of the Permanent Defen...More Button

The continued participation by seven members of the Permanent Defence Force in ISAF is reviewed annually by the Government. The most recent decision by the Government was on 26 June 2012, when it...More Button

  Question No. 23 answered with Question No. 17.More Button

Was asked: the number of Irish Defence Forces personnel currently serving in Syria; the role of Irish Defence Forces personnel in this location; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Five (5) members of the Permanent Defence Force are deployed in Syria as part of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO). The Defence Forces have participated in UNTSO since 1958....More Button

As the security situation in Syria remains highly unstable and volatile, Defence Forces personnel normally based in Damascus were relocated by the United Nations from Damascus to United Nations...More Button

UNTSO works closely with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and UNDOF. The main objectives of UNTSO are to monitor ceasefires, to supervise armistice agreements and to assist th...More Button

Six members of the Permanent Defence Force who had been deployed as unarmed military observers to the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) were withdrawn in August 2012 when the m...More Button

Defence Forces Expenditure

Was asked: the cost-cutting measures adopted by his Department in respect of each of the Defence Forces in each of the past three years to date; the net benefit in terms of actual savings in respect of each c...More Button

The depth and gravity of the current economic difficulties means that all areas of the public sector must deliver greater efficiencies and operate within a reduced resource envelope. All element...More Button

Equipment procurement has been curtailed in line with priority operational requirements and the Defence Organisation is fully participating in central initiatives to deliver further efficiencies ...More Button

Arising from the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure in 2011, the Government decided to stabilise the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel. A major reorganisation of the Per...More Button

The Defence Organisation is a leader in public sector reform and has acquired experience and a proven track record for successful reform and ongoing modernisation. The required savings of recent ...More Button

In total, these measures have facilitated a reduction in the Gross Provision for the Defence Vote (36) from €756m in 2010 to €727m in 2011 and €688m in 2012. More Button

I am satisfied that the Permanent Defence Force will remain a well trained and well equipped military organisation which is capable of meeting the roles laid down by Government both at home and a...More Button

Defence Forces Strength

Was asked: if he continues to be satisfied regarding the adequacy in terms of equipment, personnel and training of the Defence Forces to adequately respond to any emergency or security issues that might arise...More Button

The involvement of the Defence Forces in responding to emergencies or security issues arises from requests for assistance from An Garda Síochána (as aid to the civil power) or from other agencies o...More Button

The full spectrum of Defence Forces personnel and equipment, commensurate with operational requirements, is available for deployments in response to emergencies and crises. The Defence Forces al...More Button

The Framework for Major Emergency Management sets out the structure enabling the Principal Response Agencies (An Garda Síochána, the Health Service Executive and Local Authorities) to prepare for...More Button

Was asked: if he will indicate the number of military posts vacant or otherwise awaiting to be filled at all ranks in the Army, Navy and Air Corps as at 1 January 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012; the extent to whic...More Button

The strength of the Permanent Defence Force all ranks for the years 2008 to 2012 is as follow; 2008 – 10,409, 2009 – 9,906, 2010 – 9,550 and 2011- 9,438. Figures are based on the strength at the e...More Button

European Council Meetings

Was asked: when he will next attend an EU meeting with his counterparts; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

During each European Union Presidency both formal and informal meetings of Defence Ministers are held. There is no separate Defence Ministers’ Council within the EU Council of Ministers. However, ...More Button

Defence Forces Reserve Funding

Was asked: the financial supports that will be available to members of the Reserve Defence Forces into the future.More Button

I am not in a position at the present time to outline what financial supports will be available to members of the Reserve into the future. You will appreciate that although the Value for Money Revi...More Button

  Question No. 20 answered with Question No. 6.More Button

Defence Forces Allowances

Was asked: his views on whether most of the allowances paid to Defence Forces personnel form part of core pay, and will be protected in the event of any review of such allowances.More Button

As the Deputy is aware the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has already undertaken a review of allowances and premium payments across the public sector and proposals were brought to Gove...More Button

While Military Service Allowance and some other allowances may be considered to be part of core pay it is important to understand that the term "Allowances" in the Defence sector covers a variety...More Button

It is also important to recognise that almost two thirds of the payments on allowances is accounted for by the top three categories of allowance, that is, Technician Pay, Security Duty Allowances...More Button

Drugs Smuggling

Was asked: are the Defence Forces aid to civil powers activity in relation to the monitoring of and the arresting of those who are importing illicit drugs to the State; if he is satisfied that the Defence For...More Button

Was asked: are the Defence Forces aid to civil powers activity in relation to the monitoring of and the arresting of those who are importing illicit drugs to the State; if he is satisfied that the Defence For...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 24 and 26 together.More Button

The Customs Service of the Revenue Commissioners has primary responsibility for the prevention of drug smuggling into the country and responsibility for the prevention of crime rests primarily wi...More Button

Government measures to improve law enforcement in relation to drugs, including the establishment in 1993 of a Joint Task Force involving An Garda Síochána, the Customs Service and the Naval Service...More Button

The Naval Service operates eight general purpose patrol ships, which are tasked with coastal and offshore patrolling and surveillance for the State.The Naval Service is committed to having at lea...More Button

The Air Corps are also involved in efforts to prevent drug trafficking. The Air Corps Maritime Squadron carries out aerial surveillance within the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone using the two CAS...More Button

  Question No. 25 answered with Question No. 17.More Button

Military Archives

Was asked: if there is a timescale for the release of the military pension records.More Button

The Military Service Pensions Archive project is a cornerstone of the Government Centenary Programme. Approximately 300,000 files relating to the period from Easter Week, 1916, through the War of ...More Button

Subsequent releases will have a web element but it is important to note that not all papers on each file will be available online. Physical visits to the Military Archives will be required to se...More Button

Defence Forces Deployment

Was asked: if he will provide details in tabular form of all occasions on which Defence Forces personnel were deployed for civilian events from March 2011 to date in 2012; the cost of each deployment; and if ...More Button

The Defence Forces receive an extensive number of requests each year from individuals, organisations and from Government Departments and Agencies to deploy personnel to civilian events. These even...More Button

Was asked: the measures he will undertake to ensure that rural Reserve Defence Forces outposts are maintained and fully supported by permanent members of the Defence Forces.More Button

Arising from the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure (CRE), the Government stabilised the strength ceiling of the PDF at 9,500 personnel. A major re-organisation of the PDF was initiated which will...More Button

In light of the reduction in the number of full-time PDF Cadre, it is clearly not feasible to staff all posts in the same way as they are currently staffed and alternative approaches must be deve...More Button

As the proposed responses to these recommendations are currently being developed, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this point.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the Army, Navy and Air Corps have assisted in emergencies including natural disasters over the past 10 years; if he is satisfied that the Defence Forces will retain this capacit...More Button

The Defence Forces have played a major role in emergency response, at both a national and local level over the past decade. Examples of this response in recent years are: the establishment of coun...More Button

The recent reorganisation in the Defence Forces encompasses a reduction in the number of Army Brigades from three to two larger brigades, a reduction in the number of headquarters, re-deployment ...More Button

  Questions Nos. 164 and 165 taken with Question No. 17. More Button

Property Registration Authority

Was asked: the total number of staff employed by the Property Registration Authority at each of its offices; if the property is leased, and if so when the lease expires; the maximum staffing capacity of lease...More Button

The Property Registration Authority, PRA, was established on 4 November 2006 under the provisions of the Registration of Deeds and Title Act 2006 and is responsible for managing and controlling the...More Button

Immigrant Investor Programme

Was asked: the number of applications received and approved to date under the immigrant investor programme and the start up entrepreneur scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service has informed me that there continues to be a significant number of enquiries from potential applicants and their representatives for both programmes...More Button

Property Services Regulatory Authority

Was asked: the progress that has been made by the Property Services Regulatory Authority in registering property management companies and management agents; the way the Property Service Regulatory Authority i...More Button

The Property Services Regulatory Authority was established on 3 April 2012 under the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 to regulate, control and supervise property services providers (i.e. auc...More Button

Garda Stations Closures

Was asked: his plans for the future of a Garda station (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his plans for the future of Garda stations in County Offaly; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 144 and 145 together.More Button

Any proposals for the closure of Garda stations must be contained in the annual policing plan prepared by the Commissioner and submitted to the Minister for Justice and Equality. While the polici...More Button

Civil Marriages Numbers

Was asked: the position regarding full civil marriages for gay and lesbian couples; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Legislation providing for same-sex marriage cannot be enacted without an amendment to the Constitution following a decision of the people in a referendum on the matter in accordance with Article 46...More Button

Closed Circuit Television Systems

Was asked: the position regarding funding under the community CCTV programme in respect of Tipperary town RAPID programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The community-based CCTV Scheme was launched in 2005 to provide financial assistance towards the capital costs of establishing a Community CCTV system. To date, two major rounds of the scheme have ...More Button

I have been advised by Pobal, who administer the scheme on behalf of my Department, that the Tipperary Rapid Anti-Social Behaviour Working Group received a pre-development grant under Round 2 of ...More Button

Was asked: if he will increase the number of Garda CCTV cameras in Dublin city centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Garda CCTV systems are planned and implemented on the basis of An Garda Síochána's identified operational requirements. Accordingly, decisions in relation to the introduction or extension of such s...More Button

Garda Training

Was asked: the dates on which the intoxilysers training course were held in 2012; the number of Gardaí who attended each of the courses; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that no intoxilyser training courses have been delivered to date in 2012. More Button

Prisoner Releases

Was asked: if he has provided funding for works to redevelop a residence (details supplied) in Dublin 7 as a residence for transition housing for released prisoners; and if he will make a statement on the mat...More Button

I can advise the Deputy that funding has not been provided by my Department to develop the residence referred to for transition housing for released prisoners.More Button

Court Procedures

Was asked: if he will provide further information on his planned reforms of the family court system; the measures that will be implemented to make it a more transparent and open system; and if he will provide...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the Government recently approved in principle my proposals for reforms to our courts structures which will, in due course, require the holding of a constitutional refe...More Button

Crime Prevention Officers

Was asked: if he will provide an update regarding the appointment of a crime prevention officer for County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that under the GRACE Programme, which was established in September 2011, the Commissioner has tasked a small group to examine the overall operational...More Button

Local Garda management in Tipperary advises that the crime prevention function of An Garda Síochána being provided to the community has not been adversely affected as crime prevention and persona...More Button

Proposed Legislation

Was asked: the position regarding the proposed Coroners Bill; the main measures contained in the Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Coroners Bill 2007 is before the Seanad having been restored to the Order Paper on my initiative. The Bill is in the course of being reviewed in my Department with a view, among other matters, ...More Button

Visa Applications

Was asked: the position regarding the visa waiver programme; the uptake of the programme to date; the tourism dividend from residents of countries to which the visa waiver programme pertains; and if he will m...More Button

The Irish Short-stay Visa Waiver Programme, which was devised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, of my Department, commenced on 1 July 2011 and was originally scheduled to r...More Button

The programme applies to nationals of 17 countries (increasing from 16 on 1 November 2012 to include nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina) mainly from Asia (including China and India), the former ...More Button

Tourism Ireland, the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination, has reported some significant success indicators for the programme:More Button

- 36 new tour operator itineraries from China have been established since the start of the Programme.More Button

- Existing Chinese tour operators have added almost 2,500 people to their tours between July 2011 and August 2012.More Button

- Publicity about the Programme in China generated the equivalent of over €855,000 of advertising in the same period.More Button

- 20 tour operators in India have reported new itineraries or additional passengers since the launch of the Programme.More Button

- A number of tour operators in the Gulf region have added Ireland to their tourist itineraries for the first time.More Button

It has not been possible to ascertain exactly how many people have made use of the Visa Waiver Programme as the only comprehensive way of doing so would be to check all persons arriving at ports ...More Button

My Department is constantly seeking ways in which the visa system can facilitate increased business and tourism from growing markets and, in this regard, meets regularly with tourism and busines...More Button

Criminal Legal Aid

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 158 of 25 October 2012, if there are any further and or secondary fees to which solicitors and barristers are entitled to claim under the Criminal Legal Aid sc...More Button

My reply to Parliamentary Question No. 158 on 25 October 2012 set out details of the main fees payable under the criminal legal aid scheme. I also informed the Deputy that disbursements may be cov...More Button

Crime Prevention

Was asked: the steps that he is taking to prevent metal theft from public places such as parks, roadsides and church grounds; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I can assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána is very much aware of the increase in the theft of metal and is targeting such crime, as well as burglaries and theft-related crimes generally, throug...More Button

Tackling such crime requires a collaborative effort and targeted multi-agency response. Following an analysis of crime trends, An Garda Síochána has established a metal theft forum involving stak...More Button

Defence Forces Reserve Review

Was asked: if he will ensure that the FCA unit in Longford Town continues in operation, as it was promised that it would remain open in Longford following the closure of Connolly Barracks; and if he will make...More Button

A value for money review of the Reserve Defence Force was recently completed and submitted to myself and the Secretary General of my Department for consideration. In advance of the publication of ...More Button

Was asked: if he will confirm that he received a value for money report from the Reserve Defence Forces; when same will be published in view of the fact that it appears that loyal members of the Reserve Defen...More Button

The value for money review of the Reserve Defence Force was completed and submitted to me for consideration last month. Responses to the recommendations contained in this report are currently bein...More Button

Defence Forces Reserve Training

Was asked: his future plans for the continuation of the Reserve Defence Force training facilities at a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A value for money review of the Reserve Defence Force was recently completed and submitted to myself and the Secretary General of my Department for consideration. In advance of the publication of ...More Button

Air Corps Recruitment

Was asked: the number of vacancies in the Air Corps Apprentices that have been currently filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have been advised by the Military Authorities that no Air Corps apprenticeship vacancies have been filled in 2012. However, an Air Corps apprenticeship competition which was advertised on 27 Sep...More Button

Defence Forces Retirement Scheme

Was asked: the total number of retirements, at all ranks and by gender from the Army, Navy and Air Corps in each of the past four years to date; the level of replacement in the same period; and if he will mak...More Button

It was not possible to provide the detailed information sought by the Deputy in the time available. My Department is currently seeking to compile the relevant data and I will provide the informatio...More Button

  Question No. 168 answered with Question No. 12.More Button

Was asked: the number of women who have retired from the Defence Forces in each of the past three years to date; the number of women recruits in the same period; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The following table sets out the number of women who have left the Permanent Defence Force and the number of women who were inducted into the Permanent Defence Force in each of the years 2010 and 2...More Button

Search and Rescue Service

Was asked: if he is satisfied that air sea rescue services at Navy and Air Corps level continue to be adequately staffed and funded in view of the extent of coastline and the need to combat drug or people tra...More Button

The Irish Coast Guard has overall responsibility for the provision of search and rescue services within the Irish search and rescue region and the responsibility for the prevention of drug-traffick...More Button

Government measures to improve law enforcement in relation to drugs, including the establishment in 1993 of a Joint Task Force involving An Garda Síochána, the Customs Service and the Naval Servi...More Button

Furthermore, Ireland along with other EU Member States participate in the EU Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre – Narcotics, MAOC-N. This Centre has led to a greater focus on intelligence e...More Button

Naval Service vessels are multi-tasked in the sense that they also undertake general surveillance, security and other duties while on fishery patrol. The Air Corps maritime squadron carries out a...More Button

In relation to maritime surveillance generally, an inter-departmental maritime surveillance working group, chaired by the Department of Transport, was established under the auspices of the marine...More Button

I am satisfied that both the Air Corps and Naval Service have the necessary resources to meet their operational requirements in these important areas.More Button

Defence Forces Properties

Was asked: the extent to which he expects receipts from the disposal of military barracks or other installations to go towards the upgrading of military capability in terms of equipment or otherwise; and if h...More Button

The monies received from the sales of surplus properties have returned to the Defence Vote as Appropriations in Aid. The increased levels of appropriations in aid have allowed the retention of fun...More Button

Defence Forces Recruitment

Was asked: the number of cadets enrolled in each of the past four years to date by gender; the number at passing out; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The number, by gender, of cadets inducted to the Permanent Defence Force in each year 2009 to 2012 along with the number who were subsequently commissioned as officers is shown in the following tab...More Button