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Seanad Éireann debate -
Thursday, 22 Nov 2001

Vol. 168 No. 15

Youth Work Bill, 2000: Report Stage.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I remind Senators that they may speak only once on Report Stage, except the proposer of an amendment, who may reply to the discussion on the amendment. Each amendment must be seconded. Amendments Nos. 1, 2 and 3 are cognate and may be taken together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 8, subsection (3)(b)(ii). line 47, to delete “other”.

Representations have been made to me about the use of the word "other" in this section. It has been suggested that the use of this word means that a second category has been described here and otherwise there are two mutually discrete groups of young people, those aged between ten and 21 years and those young people aged under ten and over 21 who are socially or economically disadvantaged and who should be given special regard concerning the provision of youth work. I do not know if this is the intention of the Bill, to describe two discrete groups, those between ten and 21 and those under ten and over 21, but if that is the case it is not a good idea. We should remove "other" from section 2 and describe them as young people who are socially or economically disadvantaged.

Like Senator Henry, I ask the Minister of State to accept this amendment. I have been contacted by the National Youth Council of Ireland in relation to this. The Minister of State should accept the amendment.

I appreciate and understand that Senators Henry and Burke had representations made to them. Deputy Creed put forward a similar amendment in the Lower House and we discussed it, but I decided it was not necessary.

The basis for my rejection of the amendment was that young people who are socially or economically disadvantaged and aged between ten and 21 are automatically included in section 8(3)(b)(i), as that subsection covers all young persons in this age range. Section 8(3)(b)(ii) covers all other young persons out of that age group who are socially or economically disadvantaged, so there is no good reason the amendment should be accepted.

I will put it in simpler terms. I am trying to prioritise certain categories of young people and give them the same priority, young people of any age who are socially or economically disadvantaged and young people whether socially or economically disadvantaged between the ages of ten and 21. If one looks at the wording of the two subparagraphs of subsection (3), that is precisely what is achieved in that wording.

I looked carefully at Deputy Creed's arguments on Committee and Report Stages and I am satisfied that our objective, as I have outlined, is met by the words as I have used them in the text.

The Minister of State has obviously thought very carefully about this and I have to accept his explanation. I understand the National Youth Council's concern about this and I will relay the Minister of State's comments to it. I am sure Deputy Creed did the same. This looks a bit odd, but of course I accept the Minister of State's explanation.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments Nos. 2 and 3 not moved.

I move amendment No. 4:

In page 19, subsection (7), to delete from and including ", from" in line 32 down to and including "committee" in line 33.

This Bill has done very well in making the statutory and voluntary sectors equal partners, but this section is of concern to me. I have received representations from the National Youth Council that the vice-chairperson as well as the chairperson of a youth work committee must be a member of a VEC. Would it not be better if, let us say, the vice-chairperson could come from the voluntary sector rather than having to be a member of the VEC? It goes against the principle and ethos of partnership which is within this legislation. Given that there would be statutory representatives, including VEC members, and people from the voluntary youth work sector on these committees, I suggest we amend the Bill so that the vice-chairperson does not have to be a member of the VEC.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I have just been informed that this Bill should be taken on Committee Stage rather than Report Stage.

I thought it was Committee Stage.