It is proposed to take No. 5, Employment Permits (Amendment) Bill 2014 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that Private Members’ business, which shall be No. 49, Garda Síochána (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2014 – Second Stage, shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, 28 May 2014. Tomorrow’s business after Oral Questions shall be No. 5, Employment Permits (Amendment) Bill 2014 - Second Stage (resumed).
Order of Business
There is one proposal to be put to the House, namely, the proposal for dealing with Private Members' business. Is that agreed? Agreed.
Can the Minister indicate whether we will need a Supplementary Estimate for health this year given that the Minister for Health has made it clear he does not believe he can make the savings outlined in the Haddington Road agreement under the health Vote? Acute hospitals are indicating that they will be significantly in deficit and spending more than they were provided with. There are considerable pressures on acute hospitals across the system now. We have heard about the €100 million excess concerning medical card probity. The Minister for Finance initiated this and it is causing huge strains regarding medical cards and has caused great distress. All in all, the circumstances with regard to health suggest the centre cannot hold as matters stand. I would like the Minister for Finance to confirm whether we are likely to see a Supplementary Estimate for the Department of Health.
Can the Minister confirm when the hospital insurance fund, as promised by the Government, will be introduced? It is to assist hospitals in more remote locations that may not have a large throughput of patients in providing important local services. Could the Minister indicate when the legislation for the establishment of universal hospital care insurance will be available?
When are we likely to see the completion of the review of the fair deal system of financing home care and the development of what the programme for Government states is a secure and equitable system of financing for community and long-term care that supports older people in staying in their homes?
We have no legislation on the insurance fund. I will have to get back to the Deputy on that.
The fair deal review is not really a matter for the Order of Business, so I suggest that the Deputy submit a question to the Minister for Health-----
It is in the programme for Government.
-----so as to obtain the details on it.
On the Deputy's first question, we are only four months into the budgetary year. We are coming towards the end of the fifth month. The Deputy will know from his experience of government that Supplementary Estimates would not be considered this early in the year.
Ba mhaith liom ceist a chur ar an Aire maidir le Bille atá fógartha, the workplace relations Bill, which was announced in 2012 and promised for 2013 and which seems to have disappeared. All the while, workers' rights are being undermined. We put forward legislation to close a loophole, the Protection of Employees (Amendment) Bill 2012. This was to allow workers to have access to the State’s insolvency fund, but the Government voted it down. When will the workplace relations Bill be published? Will it have a provision to make the non-payment of workers' wages by an employer a crime? Will the Government take urgent steps to ensure that the Paris Bakery workers will be able to gain access to the fund?
Tá súil againn go mbeidh sé foilsithe i rith an tseisiúin seo.
With regard to the health care initiative Bill, I want to put on the record of the Dáil the case of Diarmuid Doyle of Ashgrove, Kenmare.
The Deputy will not put it on the record of the Dáil.
He has suffered from multiple sclerosis for 30 years.
The Deputy should not act the maggot here again.
He has given me his permission. For 30 years, he has suffered from multiple sclerosis.
This is on promised legislation.
His medical card was taken away last week.
Will the Deputy please resume his seat?
He has had multiple sclerosis for 30 years.
Will the Deputy please resume his seat and table a parliamentary question?
He cannot do anything for himself.
I will not be calling the Deputy in future if he does not adhere to the rules in the House.
The Ceann Comhairle would make the same point if he were in my shoes.
But I would not do it on the Order of Business.
I am raising it under the health care initiative Bill.
The Deputy is quite entitled to-----
Under the initiative, can the Government do something-----
Will the Deputy please resume his seat?
-----to deal with the issues raised earlier? It is a very fair point.
There are plenty of other ways of raising these issues.
Will the Minister answer the question on the health care initiative Bill? Is it promised? What will the Government do about it?
We do not have a publication date for that legislation.
When is it expected that the criminal justice (proceeds of crime) Bill, which is to strengthen the powers of the Criminal Assets Bureau in regard to the forfeiture by criminals of the proceeds of crime, will be published?
I thank the Minister for organising the introduction of a new dye to counteract the laundering of diesel. I am sure Sinn Féin will welcome the fact that this will stop a lot of criminality in this area.
Consultation is still ongoing between the relevant Department and the Criminal Assets Bureau. There is not yet a date for the publication of the Bill but the consultation is proceeding satisfactorily.
I wish to establish when the family law Bill is due for publication.
That will be published later this year.
I have questions on two items, one of which concerns the EirGrid Bill. Will the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources now listen to the people? He did not listen to their submissions but I hope he listened to their votes. Will the Minister for Finance give us a date for the publication of the EirGrid legislation and stop the plundering of our country with pylons?
The water services (No. 3) Bill is to deal with a number of ancillary items relating to the transfer of water services functions to Irish Water. A colleague in Tipperary announced the signing of a contract two days before the election. I have confirmation from a company, Glan Agua, that no contract was signed. We all know that even in a marriage two people sign a contract.
That does not arise on the Order of Business.
It is terrible to be depending on favours to get votes.
It happened in Kerry also before the election.
The EirGrid Bill will be published next year. The services Bill to which the Deputy referred will be published later this year.
I want to ask about proposed legislation for the strategic banking corporation of Ireland which the Minister announced last week. What is proposed is not the strategic investment bank that was promised in the programme for Government three years ago. This new institution will lend money to existing banks rather than directly to SMEs, and there are concerns that the banks will only use the funding to be provided by the strategic banking corporation for their own purposes and not for improving the provision of credit to small and medium enterprises. What safeguards will the Minister introduce to ensure funding can get through to the smaller businesses that are most hard-pressed?
We cannot discuss the content of the Bill.
When will the legislation be introduced?
It was agreed at Government level and has gone for drafting.
On promised legislation, to what extent is that old friend of mine, the bail Bill, progressing? Has it achieved any further progress and when is it likely to come before the House?
The draft heads are at an advanced stage in the Department but, as yet, no date is set for publication.
With regard to taxation of the agriculture industry, I take it that if there are to be changes, effect will have to be given to those changes. Will this involve legislation or will it be dealt with in the forthcoming finance Bill?
I announced a review of taxation of agriculture and the agrifood industry in last year's budget in the same way as I previously announced reviews of taxation of research and development and taxation of the film industry. The intention is to enhance these areas and make sure tax measures actually achieve their purpose, which is to encourage productivity. The review is under way, with a lot of submissions coming in. When the review is finalised, if there are changes to be made, they will be made in the finance Bill which will follow the budget.
When will the criminal justice (victims rights) Bill be published? This is the Bill that will strengthen the rights of victims of crime.
No date is set for publication.