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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 28 Feb 1967

Vol. 226 No. 12

Industrial Training Bill, 1965: From the Seanad.

The Dáil went into Committee to consider amendments from the Seanad.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 1:

Section 8: In subsection (1), line 33, "Traenála" deleted and "Oiliúna" substituted.

With your permission, Sir, amendment No. 9 may be taken with this. The effect of these amendments is to change the title of the Training Authority from "An Chomhairle Traenála" to "An Chomhairle Oiliúna". Objections were raised both in the Dáil and the Seanad to the word "Traenála" in the title of the Authority. It is apparent that the word "Oiliúna" is more acceptable and appropriate. I accepted the amendment in the Seanad and I think it will find acceptance here.

The ecumenical spirit.

I hope it means as much to people as "An Chomhairle Traenála", which I think means more than "Oiliúna".

Is it a word in any language?

It will not be the first word that did not belong to any language to find its way into a Bill.

The word "Oiliúna" is an Irish word.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 2:

Section 9: In subsection (2), page 4, line 51, "(including any class of such persons which by reason of age or physical or other disability is, in the opinion of An Chomhairle, at a disadvantage)" inserted before "as".

The purpose of this amendment is to highlight the powers An Chomhairle will have to provide or arrange for the provision of training courses for older workers or disabled persons. Section 9, as it stands, would empower An Chomhairle to take action on the training of older people and disabled persons. However, I agreed with the Seanad that specific enabling powers should be given An Chomhairle in this respect to highlight their function. There are already a number of bodies providing excellent training schemes for handicapped persons, bodies such as the Rehabilitation Institution, the Central Remedial Clinic and the Board for the Employment of the Blind. It is the intention that An Chomhairle would co-operate with such bodies to provide improved training facilities for handicapped persons. There are provisions in the Health Act, 1953, relating to the training of disabled workers. It would be desirable that An Chomhairle would consult with the Department of Health as well as the organisations concerned as to the adequacy of the training facilities and the medical aspects of the training they undertake to provide for any person.

Does that mean that the Department of Labour will now enter into discussions with the Department of Health in relation, for instance, to occupational therapy?

The Bill, as it went through the Dáil, gave power to the new training authority to set up training courses where they were not available and to help others to set up training courses. The Bill itself limited the activities of An Chomhairle to areas where courses were not already in existence so that there would not be duplication. Certain Senators put forward that there should be specific mention in the Bill of these disabled people. By specifically mentioning them they felt it would highlight the particular need of handicapped people and older workers. It is not intended to interfere with the work of any other voluntary body or other Department but to help, as An Chomhairle would do in other types of training, with the provision of training courses.

Would the Department review existing training schemes run by other Departments—occupational therapy, for instance?

It would have the power to see after the adequacy of training schemes.

The Minister must be aware that the present system of training disabled persons is entirely inadequate. The proportion of those in any local authority area who get any training at all is exceptionally low. Does the Minister think that writing this into the Bill will improve matters, or has the Minister written in any specific arrangement by which disabled persons can have special training? Surely the Minister knows that the number being trained is desperately low and that the number of openings for them is lower still?

Does this come under the provisions of the matter which Deputy Dunne of this Party has already specially mentioned?

I think that Deputy Dunne's motion, which will come up for discussion later, is in relation to employment of such persons. This is to provide that they will get the training. As the Bill left the House originally, the Comhairle could have set up training courses but to highlight the position of the disadvantages, the Seanad asked me to name this specific function that the Comhairle would have. I do not know if the Deputy could suggest anything that would do more. The purpose of this amendment is to encourage what Deputy Tully wants.

Can the Minister enter into discussions with all the voluntary bodies?

An Chomhairle Oiliúna would survey the field and make decisions as to the adequacy of the training, not alone in regard to the disadvantaged workers but all workers, and would itself set up courses and help those providing courses to provide better courses.

Would the Minister consider the case of one of the best known of such organisations, the League of the Blind who run very admirable training courses for blind people? It has been one of their points for a number of years that in proportion to the number of blind people trained the number and range of occupations open to them in this country is pretty poor. Would the Minister contemplate discussing this matter with the League of the Blind?

I would envisage the training body doing that and I think that the section now before the Dáil has money in it to allow An Chomhairle Oiliúna to take steps in regard to establishing training courses.

There is not much to be gained in training them for employment unless there is some assurance that employment will be available.

In that connection, does this provision anticipate acceptance of Deputy Dunne's motion?

We shall discuss Deputy Dunne's motion later.


Does the Minister mean that not only will this section enable his Department to review existing schemes but also to take the initiative in providing for training?

It will permit An Chomhairle to take the initiative.

Where training does not exist, will this be a responsibility of the Department?

This Bill has passed through this House and Deputies should know its purpose is the setting up of a training authority and the authority has this initiative. The authority would have power to take the initiative and set up training courses. The purpose of the amendment is to highlight the disadvantaged. As originally drafted, the Bill gave An Chomhairle Oiliúna this power: the amendment highlights disadvantaged workers.

Are we clear that steps will be taken to ensure that they will exercise this power and that there will be nothing to prevent them from doing so?

There will be nothing to prevent them. Is the Deputy proposing that we should have An Chomhairle but that it should not provide training?

No, I only want an assurance that something will be done.

This will be purely training for the mentally and physically handicapped? If we do not consider the question of employing them, An Chomhairle Oiliúna will merely use its provision for training as propaganda. If employment is not to be provided——

I do not think it is fair of the Labour Deputies to take this attitude to a training body which will have representatives of the trade unions on it and to say before it is set up that it will only be window-dressing.

No, the Labour Deputies are not condemning this body. That is not fair.

It is fair.


We want an assurance that it will not be a case of a body being set up and nothing done.

We can be sure that the many worthwhile organisations which are already doing excellent work with little or no encouragement in this activity will be constantly at the door of An Chomhairle Oiliúna seeking assistance, advice and financial help to improve what they are already doing and to extend that kind of work. There is no need to fear that this phrase or any other provisions in the Bill will be only so many empty formulae. They will be used constantly once the power is given and it is important that we extend this description as it were, lest there be any doubt on the part of An Chomhairle Oiliúna as to whether they had power to assist and what the scope of their assistance should be.

But it does help to highlight a problem which faces those people who are already giving excellent training facilities for the disadvantaged, that is, that at present they are obliged to consult with many Government Departments, many State agencies and many other voluntary agencies in order to get a little done. As a result, they waste a great deal of time and energy in carrying on these negotiations. They might be in a better position to assist the disadvantaged if they were able to concentrate directly on the work and not have to engage in so much negotiation. It is admirable that we are extending the help which society—and by that term I mean to involve everybody—will give to these people but we are also at the same time obliging them to consult with yet another Government Department, the Department of Labour, or the child of the Department of Labour, An Chomhairle Oiliúna. It helps to support the argument that we in the Fine Gael Benches have been making for a considerable time that there should be one statutory body dealing with the disadvantaged in our population so that each charitable body or organisation would not be obliged to spend week after week in a series of negotiations with different Government Departments in order to get a little done.

However, that is perhaps another day's work but we should not fail to take cognisance of that problem at present, that while we are helping, we are nevertheless imposing an obligation on these organisations to consult with another organisation before help will be forthcoming.

I take it that under the amendment An Chomhairle Oiliúna will be given the responsibility not of just consulting but of assuring that some of these bodies which are doing excellent work will get help to do that work and also advice and supervision to ensure that the particular course of training is adequate for those who are being looked after. I take it this will also apply in the case of handicapped people who are at present in the care of local authorities and that An Chomhairle Oiliúna, with the Department of Health, will be in a position to ensure that where any therapeutic practices for the training of people are carried on, these will be of benefit to the handicapped and not just undertaken to provide some interesting exercises. I should like to ensure that the exercises will be undertaken and that the training will be for the purpose of benefiting the handicapped. An Chomhairle Oiliúna will have to bear in mind, as its predecessor, the Apprenticeship Board did, the availability of employment in order to the training given.

It seems to me that the amendment is being extended far beyond what was intended.

I am most anxious to get some information from the Minister and also to ensure that the Minister does not misunderstand what has been said by Labour Deputies.

It seems to me that a great many people do misunderstand it.

I should like to ask, with the permission of the Chair: does the Minister not intend that An Chomhairle Oiliúna will have the responsibility of ensuring that the type of training carried on will have an outlet for it, that there will be concentration on training but not on training for training's sake?

That is far outside the scope of the amendment.

May this matter be discussed on the conclusion of the Bill?

No; we have had all Stages of the Bill before.

The question put by our good colleague, Deputy Mullen, was whether there will be an outlet for such people when they are trained. The same applies to any individual who will serve his time.

No; for instance, there are people being trained in Mountjoy for jobs they will never work at.

Basketmaking, for example.

A Deputy

Stitching mail bags.

They have window boxes installed now.

The Minister rose to speak.

I have nothing to add. It has all been stated in the Dáil during the many Stages of the Bill. The purpose of the Bill was to set up a training authority with powers for training. They were given the power to examine and require standards in various training courses. They could set up the courses themselves or, if courses were already in existence, see that they were brought to the required standard. All their activities must be geared to the realities of the situation and the possibility of outlets and the needs of the community. I think we should leave this to An Chomhairle itself. Naturally, they will have to work with a view to the possibility of outlets for employment for the people they train. I think this Comhairle, which will be composed of employer and worker interests, will have a full knowledge of what is required by the disadvantaged worker.

And they will lay down the type of training?

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 3:

Before section 17 but in part II, the following new section inserted:

17. An Chomhairle may, with the consent of the Minister, given with the concurrence of the Minister for Finance, borrow temporarily by arrangement with bankers such sums as it may require for the purpose of providing for current expenditure.

During the Committee Stage in the Seanad, it was suggested that An Chomhairle should be given specific powers to borrow money. On further consideration, I felt it was desirable to empower An Chomhairle Oiliúna to borrow money by means of temporary overdraft for current expenditure. This amendment provides for that. There would not be much point in making provision for the borrowing of moneys for capital purposes since the only real source of income for An Chomhairle will be the annual grant under section 16. It is very doubtful whether it would be appropriate for An Chomhairle to borrow long-term in such circumstances. I am satisfied that any funds An Chomhairle would require for capital purposes — that is, to build training centres and to equip such training centres—can be provided by means of the grant-in-aid provided for under section 16 of the Bill.

How would it be possible that An Chomhairle, looking at its programmes for a given year, would be in the position of being forced to run on an overdraft basis? How would this necessarily arise? Would An Chomhairle be empowered, itself, within certain limits——

On current——

Is there any limit?

It is up to the banks to mind themselves and the Minister for Finance would set a limit with the Minister for Labour. As originally drafted, the Bill did not have this provision. It was intended that the grant-in-aid would cover these instances. A body such as this might find itself, at the end of the financial year, requiring moneys. I was persuaded by the Seanad about it.

And rightly so.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 4 :

Before section 17 but in Part II, the following new section inserted:

18. (1) An Chomhairle may accept gifts of money, land or other property upon such trusts and conditions, if any, as may be specified by the donor.

(2) An Chomhairle shall not accept a gift if the conditions attached by the donor are inconsistent with the functions of An Chomhairle.

In the Seanad, and on the Committee Stage of the Bill, it was suggested that An Chomhairle should be given power to accept gifts. An Cheard Chomhairle had this power under the legislation of 1959. The amendment is similar to section 65 of the Apprenticeship Act, 1959.

Medals, and so on.

Prizes. I could imagine somebody leaving them a farm of land, I suppose.

Could they accept a gift from the CIA?

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 5.

Section 18: In subsection (2) (b), lines 41 and 42 and in subsection (2) (c), lines 49 and 50 "any case in which a grant was made in respect of the process" deleted and "relation to workers in respect of whose training in the process a grant was made" substituted.

This amendment and amendment No. 6 might be taken together. During the Committee Stage of the Bill in the Seanad, doubts were expressed as to paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) of subsection (2) of section 18. In particular, it was feared that the provisions of that subsection would preclude An Chomhairle from making a grant for the training of additional workers in a process in an industry where a grant had already been paid for that process or a similar training scheme for other workers in the undertaking. It was not the intention that a limitation like that would be imposed on An Chomhairle but, as it read, the Seanad thought An Chomhairle could be precluded from making a grant to another set of workers in the same process. The word "process" was used.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 6:

In subsection (2) (d), line 56, "any case in which" deleted and in page 10, lines 1 to 3 deleted and "relation to workers in respect of whose training for the purpose of the undertaking a grant was made by the Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited" substituted.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 7:

Section 43: In subsection (1), line 29, and in subsection (2), line 36, "23" deleted and "24" substituted.

This amendment is designed to correct a typographical error. The notices referred to in the subsections would be served under section 24 and not under section 23.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 8:

First Schedule: In article 25, page 26, line 22, "four" deleted and "seven" substituted.

This is to meet a point made in the Dáil on Committee Stage by Deputy Jones and Deputy Larkin. I agree that since the membership of An Chomhairle was increased from seven to 14, then the quorum for a meeting of An Chomhairle should be increased from four to seven. The purpose of the amendment is to increase the quorum number accordingly.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 9:

Title: In page 3, lines 8 and 10, "TRAENALA" deleted and "OILIUNA" substituted.

Cá bhfuil an síne fada imithe? Níl aon síne fada ar "TRAENALA" ná ar "OILIUNA"?

Níl an síne fada ann mar is príomh-litreacha iad go léir.

Feach ar theideal an Bhille féin ar an bpáipéar seo ón Seanad. Tá síne fada ann.

Níl sé ar an cheann atá ós mo chóirse.

Tá sé ar an cheann seo atá agamsa.

Níl ag an Teachta ach na leasuithe. Is Bille é seo.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendments reported and agreed to.

The Seanad amendments have been reported and agreed to. When the Bill was going through the Committee Stage in the Dáil, a question was raised in connection with certain matters such as the power of An Chomhairle to recruit staff.

Only the Seanad amendments are before the Dáil.

I realised that only the Seanad amendments would be before the House and, therefore, I have written to the Deputy and to Deputy Jones explaining the point which Deputy Larkin was just about to raise.