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Doherty, Regina

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.

Questions on Promised Legislation (Continued)

As set out in the response to the Deputy's parliamentary question, there will be a lengthy public consultation on this matter during which we will conduct meetings and negotiations with all of the ...More Button

Deputy Breathnach does not want to get involved in it because Fianna Fáil is responsible for what happened.More Button

Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017: Second Stage (Resumed) (Continued)

To whom did he complain?More Button

Not true.More Button

I am sorry but I cannot let the Deputy say that.More Button

It is not true.More Button

I appreciate the views that have been expressed today and yesterday. They have been useful for me and my officials, and I am looking forward to what will obviously be a humdinger of a debate when ...More Button

Everyone inside and outside the House will agree that every worker and, indeed, human being has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. We have a right to be respected by one another. ...More Button

I will revisit a number of the points that were made during the debate. I value Deputy Burton's opinion, given that she spent five years in this Department, although it is now slightly different...More Button

The amendment of the Terms of Employment (Information) Act will require an employer to inform employees by the fifth day after commencing their employment with that company what the employer reas...More Button

Employees on if-and-when contracts will benefit from the new minimum compensation provisions where they are given notice of work but, after they show up, they do not get that work. They will als...More Button

Deputy Penrose stated that a person on an if-and-when contract would have no recourse to employment rights bodies. With respect, that is not true. It is well established in the jurisprudence of...More Button

Regarding the prohibition of zero-hour contracts, while we understand and agree with the University of Limerick, UL, that such contracts are thankfully not prevalent in Ireland, we want to ensure...More Button

In some cases they do suit the employee, for example, students working during holiday periods, individuals who need to work around caring responsibilities for children or older people, or semi-reti...More Button

Regarding the penalisation provisions, it is very important that all employees feel safe in order that they can exercise their employment rights without fear of being punished for doing so. It i...More Button

A number of Deputies have expressed concern that employees will have to wait 18 months post-enactment of the Bill to benefit from the banded hours provisions. I want to be forceful on this issue...More Button

There are a number of points I would like to make. It is important that the look-back period and the length of time an employee is statutorily entitled to stay in a band of hours remain the same...More Button

Several speakers expressed concern about the widths of the bands. I understand their concerns and their points were well made. I reiterate that the bands should be sufficiently broad to allow a...More Button

Some Deputies asked about the schedule for the five pieces of crucial information being supplied to employees by their employers and why it was not day one instead of day five. We need to reflec...More Button

Different Deputies brought up the issue of compensation where workers showed up for work and none was available. I make no apology for targeting at the low-paid the minimum payment provision. I...More Button

There is a section in my Department to which Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett referred. If there is anybody who has a difficulty in establishing his or her employment status, he or she can make a cas...More Button

We need to get past that issue. To that end, I will conduct a very large advertising campaign this year. People should not be afraid. I am not saying the scary examples the Deputy gave are not t...More Button

That is why we are going to pass this Bill. I know the Deputies all want to make amendments to it and that is fine. We can discuss it. The reason for passing this legislation is to make sure tha...More Button

Deputies have referred to the fact that employers have been yielding huge profits over recent years. It would be remiss of me not to say that when a company is making money, the people responsib...More Button

Many have said that while this legislation will be great, if it does not have the Workplace Relations Commission, WRC, inspectors to make sure it is implemented it will sit on a shelf and not be ...More Button

I know the Deputies opposite will support the Bill because they want to do what I want to do, and we will come to a happy conclusion on Committee Stage and get a Bill that will protect workers. ...More Button

Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017: Referral to Select Committee

I move:More Button

Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 [Seanad]: Second Stage (Resumed)

  Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."More Button

Report on Lone Parents: Motion (Continued)

I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak on the report on the position of lone parents in Ireland produced by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection and than...More Button

As Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection my priorities include the children living in consistent poverty, of which there are far too many, and lone-parent families. Reports such ...More Button

The committee's report outlines the main challenges facing lone parents. These cover several areas including child poverty, activation and education, child care costs, maintenance payments and t...More Button

As I stated in the Seanad, the poverty rates currently experienced by lone-parent families are unacceptable. The Central Statistics Office, CSO, survey on income and living conditions, SILC, for...More Button

The recent ESRI report on poverty dynamics of social risk groups in the EU also found that high poverty rates for lone parents are not specific to Ireland. That does not give us any comfort. Th...More Button

All of this information shows that lone parents are one of the groups that are struggling. It also shows that poverty is a complex problem but it is up to all of us to solve it. What steps can ...More Button

We need, however, to do more for these families with no or low paid employment whose risk of poverty is still too high. In budget 2018 I introduced a range of measures that I hope will benefit l...More Button

Reducing the poverty rates for lone parents is not just a question of income support. It is essential that we also provide the policy supports needed to help lone parents into sustainable employ...More Button

We need to continue with this good progress by improving the supports that will help more lone parents to work that pays. There is no point in them getting work that makes them less well-off than ...More Button

The working family payment thresholds - formerly the family income supplement - for families with one to three children will also increase by €10 per week from March resulting in an additional €6...More Button

The committee’s report highlights the importance of access to education to improve the position for lone parents. It also recommends that the activation services provided by the case officers in...More Button

My Department’s employment services also currently provide a case-managed approach to assist lone parents to make a personal plan that is specifically tailored to their circumstances. This plan ...More Button

My Department is also a member of the steering committee recently initiated by the Department of Education and Skills to progress the recommendations made in the independent report on barriers to...More Button

The committee’s report also recommends access to affordable child care. As Members know, this is the responsibility of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. I know that the Minister shar...More Button

The committee's report also included details of some of the challenges facing lone parents when arranging maintenance and recommended the development of a child maintenance agency. Following the...More Button

I think I have managed to cover the broad recommendations made in the committee’s report. I again thank the committee members for them. The measures I have outlined covering financial supports,...More Button

I thank the committee for all its help and invite it, in any deliberations it may have, or if any other Members or organisations are invited in during the coming months, to give me any informatio...More Button

I wish to refer to one or two points that were made in the debate. Deputy Curran referred to the fact that due to some of the changes we made since 2012, the jobseeker's transitional, JST, payment...More Button

Deputy Curran also made reference to the requirement to seek to obtain maintenance for lone parents who have been victims of domestic violence. The changes have been made. The circular was issu...More Button

I am not sure whether it was Deputy Funchion or Deputy Louise O'Reilly who made the point but I wish to clarify that the current position with regard to means assessment of maintenance is that al...More Button

The work is not finished. The recommendations that were made in the report were not all completed in the previous budget. We are not going to be finished until we find ourselves in a position w...More Button

I agree with the ladies in the House who made reference to the view that has prevailed for far too long in this country. It does not just come from religious organisations, politicians or the me...More Button

I am the mother of four children and I have a husband. He is deadly, and I would not have this job only for the support he gives me. However, by Jove, being a mother with a husband is bloody ha...More Button

We are now in the 21st century. Different families of different shapes and sizes deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and supported by the State. Whether they are blended families, si...More Button

School Meals Programme

Was asked: if funding will be restored to three schools (details supplied) in Dublin 11 that have lost funding for their breakfast clubs; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Funding towards school meals is being provided in over 1,550 schools and other organisations, supporting up to 247,000 children at a cost of some €54 million in 2018, representing an increase of €6...More Button

Funding for breakfast clubs is being provided to the three schools referred to by the Deputy. Funding is based on the previous year’s pupil enrolment figures as provided by the Department of Edu...More Button

In previous years, one of the schools received both breakfast and lunch funding for 30 pre-school children that attend the school for 2.5 hours a day under the early start programme. These child...More Button

If any of the schools concerned have an issue with their funding they can contact officials in my Department to discuss.More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Social Insurance Fund

Was asked: the way in which a person (details supplied) can make restitution through the redundancy and insolvency section of her Department arising from their previous business which is wound up; and if she ...More Button

As previously outlined in the replies to the Deputy’s previous Written Questions Nos. 701 on 19 December 2017 and 253 on 20 October 2017, it is the employer’s responsibility to pay statutory redund...More Button

Child Benefit Appeals

Was asked: when child benefit will be facilitated in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Child benefit is in payment to the person concerned and has been paid from the date of claim to date, including February 2018. A review of her child benefit claim was undertaken in January; that r...More Button

Carer's Allowance Applications

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) will have a decision on their application for a carer's allowance.More Button

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a person who has suc...More Button

Was asked: the status of an application by a person (details supplied) for carer's allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a person who has suc...More Button

Invalidity Pension Applications

Was asked: if an application by a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) was not entitled to the full contributory pension; the options available to seek an increase in their pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned is in receipt of a reduced rate state pension (contributory) with effect from their 66th birthday, based on an assessed yearly average of 24 contributions, covering the period ...More Button

The person has no recorded contributions for the tax years 1983/84 to 1987/88, 1992/93 to 1995/96, and 2002 to 2003 inclusive, and has less than 52 contributions for some years during their socia...More Button

If the person concerned considers that they hold additional information which may impact on their pension eligibility, they should submit the details without delay to enable my Department to have...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the Government recently announced proposals that pensioners who qualified for state pension (contributory) since September 2012, and whose rate of entitlement was im...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) is only in receipt of a €202 contributory State pension in view of the fact they have made social insurance contributions since 1964-65; if their situation ca...More Button

The person concerned is in receipt of state pension (contributory) with effect from their 66th birthday. According to the records of my Department, the person concerned has a social insurance reco...More Button

The person has no recorded reckonable contributions for the tax years 1968/69 and 1970/71 to 1997/98 inclusive; this affects their overall yearly average and consequently, their rate of weekly pe...More Button

The Deputy will also be aware that the Government recently announced proposals that pensioners who qualified for state pension (contributory) since September 2012, and whose rate of entitlement w...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Carer's Allowance Eligibility

Was asked: when an investigation into a carer's allowance payment will be concluded in the case of a person (details supplied); when the payment will be reinstated; and if she will make a statement on the mat...More Button

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment, made to persons who are providing full-time care and attention to a person who has such a disability that they require that level...More Button

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Was asked: when the file of a person (details supplied) who submitted a carer's allowance appeal on 8 November 2017 is expected to be forwarded to the appeals section; the reason for the delay; and if she wil...More Button

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a person who has suc...More Button

Rent Supplement Scheme Data

Was asked: the number of persons in receipt of rent allowance both nationally and specifically for the Dublin area on 31 December in each of the years 2012 to 2017; the related reductions in expenditure; and ...More Button

Rent supplement plays a vital role in housing families and individuals, with the scheme supporting some 33,400 recipients for which the Government has provided €180 million for 2018. Details of th...More Button

Social Welfare Code

Was asked: her views on a situation facing elderly persons in receipt of a contributory State pension, living alone increase, fuel allowance, household benefits package and a medical card, who live alone in u...More Button

The payment of the living alone allowance, fuel allowance and household benefits package (HHB) is considered secondary, or non-primary, in nature which is incorporated into the person’s qualifying ...More Button

These secondary payments are in some cases subject to a means or household composition test. A person does not have to live alone to receive fuel allowance or HHB, however they must only live wi...More Button

Significant costs would arise if the criteria for these schemes were relaxed to allow persons in under occupied houses to accept tenants without affecting their secondary entitlements. There wou...More Button

While a pensioner allowing another person to live with them might reduce such additional allowances previously held by the householder, the economies of scale from living together should mean tha...More Button

The criteria for the Department’s supplementary schemes are framed in order to direct the limited resources available to my Department in as targeted a manner as possible. The guidelines for sup...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy..More Button

Social Welfare Benefits Data

Was asked: the number of adult dependants in receipt of a social welfare claim by county, in tabular form across all live register schemes; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the following table.

  It should be noted that the county level statistics indicate the number of people with an adult depe...More Button

  Question No. 296 withdrawn.More Button

Illness Benefit Applications

Was asked: if a response has been received from the United Kingdom in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal who has applied for illness benefit; and if she will make a statement on the matt...More Button

Redundancy Rebates

Was asked: her views on restoring redundancy rebates to businesses which previously facilitated small and micro-sized businesses to hire staff; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The purpose of the redundancy payments scheme is to compensate employees for the loss of their jobs, where the employer is unable to pay statutory redundancy due to financial difficulties or insolv...More Button

Up to 2011, the scheme provided a rebate of 60 per cent to employers who provided statutory redundancy payments to their employees. In Budgets 2012 and 2013, the Government first reduced and the...More Button

The redundancy payments scheme as it now operates benefits employees whose employers are unable to pay for statutory redundancy. Employers who declare they cannot sustain the cost of redundancy ...More Button

A rebate of redundancy payments to smaller businesses would discriminate between employers and may be construed as a form of state aid, as rebates are not the norm in EU member states. Restoring ...More Button

While I acknowledge the contribution made by small businesses in the creation of employment, I do not consider it appropriate to reinstate the rebate scheme on any basis.More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. More Button

Community Employment Schemes Eligibility

Was asked: her plans to review the operation of the community employment scheme eligibility criteria; her further plans to facilitate persons on community employment schemes who are not in receipt of a social...More Button

Following the publication of my Department’s Report, An Analysis of the Community Employment Programme, in April 2017 the Government approved a number of changes to the terms and conditions around ...More Button

One of the general eligibility requirements to participate on CE is that a person must be in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment from my Department for a minimum period of 12 months. P...More Button

The eligibility criterion for participation on CE is kept under on-going review to ensure effectiveness in targeting the long-term unemployed jobseekers and other specific disadvantaged groups. More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button