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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 16 Feb 2005

Vol. 179 No. 8

Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2004: Report and Final Stages.

Before we commence, I remind Senators that a Member may speak only once on Report Stage, except the proposer of an amendment who may reply to the discussion on the amendment. Also on Report Stage each amendment must be seconded.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 3, between lines 23 and 24, to insert the following:

"(2) The Minister shall, in the interests of equality, within three months of the enactment of the this Act, cause a Report to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas examining the feasibility of introducing paid parental leave."

I welcome the Minister of State at the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy Fahey, to the House. I was unhappy with his response on Committee Stage last week. Since then, the debate has broadened as regards work and parents, particularly parents on low incomes regardless of whether they are single parents or families on low incomes. The reason I tabled this amendment is that single parents and families on low incomes will not be able to avail of parental leave because they will be unable to afford to take unpaid leave. I have taken on board the Minister of State's response last week and endeavoured to make my amendment more acceptable to him by framing it to require him to examine the possibility of introducing paid parental leave in the interests of achieving equality for everybody.

The decision to provide unpaid parental leave, in the knowledge that the option will be open only to those who can afford it, must be considered as part of any study undertaken by the Department of Social and Family Affairs on how single parents and those on low incomes are paid. I ask the Minister of State to accept the amendment, which is fair, and invite him to consider the possibility of introducing paid parental leave.

I second the amendment. It is important to try to ensure that parental leave is paid because those parents who most need to be able to deal with problems concerning their children will not be able to take leave under the current provision. Senator Terry raised the important issue of lone parents, which I also raised on Committee Stage. Lone parents depend either on one income or social welfare benefit. Two-income families and families with one parent permanently at home who can deal with problems as they arise are in a better position.

Since the Committee Stage debate, I have become concerned by the failure to increase the age thresholds for parental leave to sufficient levels. When one considers, for example, that 85 boys in Limerick have again been unable to secure a place in second level education, one realises that these kinds of important issues also crop up with regard to older children. The Minister of State, given his background, and the vast majority of Members are aware that the transition from primary to secondary school is a difficult time for children. In the circumstances I described, it would be preferable for fathers to deal with the schools into which they hope their sons will be accepted. The position is appalling and while I realise the Minister for Education and Science is trying to solve the problem, what does it say to the children in question about the value society places on them?

Recently, we heard a great deal of ill-informed comment about lone parent families from an electrical engineer and a journalist who relied on research from the United States of America, which has a completely different culture from Ireland. Considerable research, much of it commissioned by the Department of Social and Family Affairs, has been carried out here and is useful in terms of what the Department is trying to do and Senators are trying to support. I refer specifically to the report entitled, Contemporary Family Policy — A Comparative Review of Ireland, France, Germany, Sweden and the UK, by Mary Daly and Sara Clavero. The report was commissioned and funded by the then Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Deputy Coughlan, under that Department's families research programme, whose staff are acknowledged in the report. The review discusses the value of parental leave and provides support for everything the Government and Opposition are trying to do.

We need to examine the financial benefits available to parents. After all, they are raising children who will support society in the future. Measured in terms of cash supports to families, Ireland ranks higher than only Greece and Italy among the pre-enlargement European Union countries. That is not an enviable position for a country which boasts that it is the richest country in the EU. Senator Terry's proposal is reasonable in this regard.

Once again, I urge the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform to do more to publicise the excellent and plentiful research which it produces. It might prevent ill-informed comment if this research were afforded more public notice. Research on this issue could be conducted quite briskly with the help of the Department of Finance. This would allow us to see whether the Minister of State would be in a good position to present the feasibility of paid parental leave to the Minister for Finance.

The report to which I have referred puts the importance of the availability of parental leave above even that of child care for working parents. The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform produces so many reports that it is sure to be able to produce one on this issue, containing the relevant figures, in a short space of time. On the basis of this report, the Minister of State can tell us either that a paid parental leave provision is impossible on grounds of cost or that such an approach is feasible and that he will communicate this finding to the Department of Finance.

This Bill will constitute a significant change in that working parents will have a statutory entitlement to parental leave. This is a step in the right direction in that the leave entitlement of 14 weeks represents almost 30% of the working year.

However, we must acknowledge that this will represent something of an imposition on employers and will involve some element of disruption to working practices. For companies operating under a marginal viability, particularly in the private sector, it is important that we do not impose impediments. We are dealing, therefore, with a matter of competing priorities. The costs of a paid parental leave entitlement should not be imposed on employers. In regard to the suggestion that such an entitlement should be covered in the context of the social welfare code, the resources available for supporting families could perhaps be better targeted.

I understand the point behind the amendment but there must be recognition of the significant change envisaged in the Bill. Over the course of the next few years, it will be interesting to see how its provisions work in practice and the effects they will have on parents and employers. In today's global economy, we hear of companies which have had to discontinue operations because of a lack of competitiveness. We must be mindful of this in everything we do. It is of no benefit to parents if advantages and benefits are provided which ultimately undermine the entire structure of their income. We must consider this issue in a reasoned and measured way and the Bill is successful in this regard.

I support Senator Terry's amendment, the substance of which may serve to give some momentum to the efforts to introduce paid parental leave. If a report as envisaged in the amendment is produced, it should look not only at the costs, but also the benefits. These potential benefits relate not only to financial considerations but should include such issues as improved quality of life. There are cost implications in terms of savings in several areas for a society in which quality of life issues are considered. I hope such an approach might be taken to the compiling of the proposed report.

Senator Terry has raised the issue of equality but there are broader concerns to address. I am aware of middle-income, dual-salary families in Lucan for which the possibility of taking up the parental leave entitlement would not be possible for either parent because of the financial demands of mortgage repayments and other living costs. I have already raised the issue of the prevailing culture which predicates that fathers are not expected to avail of parental leave. A paid leave entitlement would encourage more fathers and mothers to avail of the facility. The long-term objective should be to secure a statutory provision for both maternity and paternity leave, in addition to the parental leave entitlement as provided in this Bill.

I agree with Senator Jim Walsh in welcoming that these entitlements are being improved. Hopefully, many parents will avail of them. However, Senator Walsh is incorrect in stating that the 14-week leave entitlement represents almost 30% of the working year. These 14 weeks apply over an eight-year period, which equates to less than two weeks' leave per year. In this context, the provision is welcome but inadequate.

The potentially disruptive effect of the provision of an entitlement to paid parental leave on the economy must be considered. However, improvement in this area can beneficial to the economy and similar provisions have been implemented with no adverse effect in other countries with strong economies. Each of us has only one life to live and our primary objective is not to improve the economy but to achieve a good life as part of a good society. The type of measure envisaged in this amendment is in keeping with that objective and the economy is a facilitator in this regard.

This amendment would require the Minister, within three months of the enactment of the Bill, to lay a report before both Houses of the Oireachtas in regard to the feasibility of introducing paid parental leave. This is not an appropriate mechanism for dealing with this matter.

As Senators are aware, the question of paid parental leave was considered during the review of the Parental Leave Act 1998. Many of the elements of a feasibility study were addressed by the review group, taking account of equality considerations, the retention of women in the workplace and the uptake by men. Comprehensive material on a range of factors in regard to paid parental leave was documented by the group in its report, including consideration of such issues as lack of payment affecting the uptake of parental leave, the extent to which leave is taken in broken format, cost to employers, cost to employees and their children, cost to the social insurance fund and the Exchequer, cost to public sector employers, the question of whether employers, the social insurance fund or the Exchequer should bear the cost, the appropriate payment and comparative situations in other EU member states. The report was published in April 2002 and is available in the Oireachtas Library.

The next occasion for further negotiation on this issue will arise towards the end of this year during discussions on the next social partnership agreement to replace Sustaining Progress, which expires in December 2005. At that point, the key stakeholders will have an opportunity to assess the feasibility of introducing paid parental leave. A statutory obligation on the Minister to lay a report before the Oireachtas will add nothing to this process. As I said, a comprehensive report is already available which deals with the issues that the proposed feasibility report would consider. I thank the Senator for her amendment but I cannot accept it.

I am disappointed in the Minister of State's response. In light of the ongoing debate about the situation of families, working parents and lone parents, this amendment would have provided the Minister with a good opportunity to report to both Houses within three months on this issue. In the broader context, it is an issue about which debate will take place in any case. The rejection of this amendment represents a lost opportunity.

I reiterate the point made by Senator Tuffy in response to Senator Walsh that the proposed parental leave entitlement is to be taken over eight years. Leave may not be taken for 14 weeks of each of those years, or 30% of the working year as Senator Jim Walsh indicated.

The leave can be taken in a block.

We are talking about a small amount of time in the first eight years of a child's life. In that context, the cost of a paid parental leave provision on an annual basis would be small. While some people may decide to take it in blocks at an early stage in a child's life, the majority will probably try to spread it over the eight years. Along with many organisations with an interest in the area, I am very disappointed in the Minister's line, which represents a lost opportunity.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I remind Senators this debate is to conclude at 3.15 p.m.

I move amendment No. 2:

In page 3, between lines 23 and 24, to insert the following:

"(2) The Minister shall, within three months of the enactment of this Act, cause a Report to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas examining the feasibility of increasing the parental leave entitlement from 14 weeks to 25 weeks.".

This amendment requests the Minister to consider increasing the parental leave period from 14 weeks to 25 weeks and to lay a report before the Houses of the Oireachtas. In light of what I have said already, parental leave, while extremely welcome to those who can afford to take it, is not adequate considering it covers eight years of a child's life. I am being moderate in my request to have it increased from 14 weeks to 25 weeks and all I am asking is that the Minister lay a report before us to allow us to examine that possibility.

We continue to put pressure on families by encouraging parents back into the workforce. In recent years families have contributed greatly to today's wonderful economy. However, up to now we did not consider the type of pressure this puts on families. Gone are the days when the man of the house went out to work and the wife stayed at home looking after the children and the house, which gave considerable stability to the working person. That stability no longer exists for the majority of families and we need to introduce structures to try to support them given the pressures they now experience. Asking that parents be allowed to avail of parental leave of up to 25 weeks is not an unfair request. I can imagine I will receive the same response from the Minister of State as I got to the previous amendment and similar to the responses we got last week. As far as I am concerned they are not family friendly policies and do nothing to address the pressures families experience today.

I second the amendment. I refer the Minister of State to pages 88 to 94 in Contemporary Family Policy in Ireland and Europe which clearly shows how parental leave can support the family especially in cases where both parents are working and find it difficult to take unpaid leave. As Senator Tuffy said, while having a splendid economy is one matter, it is more important to consider what it does for everyone and how we can support everyone to keep the economy going. Some 30 years ago, 8% of married women worked outside the home and that figure is now 37%, which represents a huge increase. Many of those women are mothers with children under 18 — children seem to be young forever, which I say on the basis of having raised some. We should do everything we possibly can to support these families for our benefit, as they are the citizens of the future.

In common with the previous amendment, I see no merit in this proposal. A feasibility study on increasing the duration of parental leave would not add to our understanding of the issue. The parental leave review group considered proposals made by ICTU and the Equality Authority to increase the duration of parental leave. These proposals were considered in the context of the following factors: the recent extension of maternity and adoptive leave; the Carers Leave Act 2001; the comparative situation in EU member states; and the implications for possible future paid parental leave. Each of these factors is addressed in the review group's 2002 report, a copy of which is available in the Oireachtas Library. I expect the next round of partnership discussions starting later this year to again focus on parental leave using the material in the review group's report as a basis for discussion and further study or research as necessary. For this reason I am not prepared to accept the amendment.

The response of the Minister of State was very disappointing but predictable.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Government amendment No. 3:
In page 4, line 3, to delete "3" and substitute "6".

As I indicated on Committee Stage, an unintentional anomaly has come to light in section 2. The reference to the upper age limit for adopted children needs to be corrected. The construction used in section 2(2)(b)(ii) unintentionally narrows the parental leave entitlement for the parent of an adopted child. It does this by providing that in respect of a child who is the subject of an adoption order, and who is aged between three and eight years on or before the date the adoption order is made, parental leave must be taken within two years of the adoption order. The following example will explain the anomaly.

The parent of a child for whom an adoption order is made at the age of four would be required to take leave by the child's sixth birthday as opposed to the eighth birthday for other children. However, the intention was that the parent of an adopted child should be entitled to parental leave until the child reaches eight years of age with additional flexibility giving up to two years to take the leave in the case of an older child for whom an adoption order is made between the ages of six and eight.

This amendment improves the provisions in section 2(2)(b)(ii) regarding the age limits for an adopted child by providing that where a child is aged six but has not reached eight years of age at the time the adoption order is made the parent may take the parental leave within two years of the making of the order.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 4:

In page 6, between lines 4 and 5, to insert the following:

"3.—The Minister shall, on 31 March 2005 and annually thereafter, publish a statement detailing the reasons why parental leave may not be transferred between parents.".

I do not understand why we do not make rules and laws that are flexible and that would make life easier for those who are going to avail of provisions and benefits. This is one example. I do not see how allowing leave to be transferable would cause disruption to the employers and it would be of great benefit to the two people who are responsible for a child. While this Bill is welcome, despite all its flaws, rather than confining leave to one individual, it would be of more benefit to allow leave to be transferable between the two people in charge of the child. I did not understand why this amendment was not acceptable on Committee Stage. I hope the Minister of State will now accept it.

I second the amendment.

The Parental Leave Act 1998 provides an individual and non-transferable entitlement to each parent to 14 weeks unpaid leave from work per child to take care of young children. This is consistent with the provisions of the EU parental leave directive, which gives legal effect to the framework agreement on parental leave agreed by the social partners at EU level. Section 2(2) of the agreement, which is an annexe to the directive, states "to promote equal opportunities and equal treatment between men and women, the parties to this agreement consider that the right to parental leave provided for under clause 2.1 should, in principle, be granted on a non-transferable basis". The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform sought legal advice on the question of transferring the parental leave entitlement during the review of the Parental Leave Act 1998. It was advised that the leave may not be transferred. In that context, it would be pointless to provide in the Bill that an annual statement on this issue should be issued. Consequently, I cannot accept the amendment.

Amendment, by leave. withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 5:

In page 6, to delete lines 14 to 26.

I also proposed this amendment on Committee Stage. My colleagues and I believe the rule that states that blocks of parental leave must be ten weeks apart is inflexible and unnecessary. This amendment proposes to delete section 3(b), which enshrines inflexibility in the legislation by providing that a second period of parental leave cannot be taken unless “not less than 10 weeks have elapsed since the first period of parental leave ended”.

Section 3(b)(1B) states that the employer and the employee may agree to a shorter period than ten weeks. As the Bill stands, the onus is on the employer to agree to that. It does not state that the employee has the right to seek leave after a shorter period. The Bill should enshrine flexibility by placing an onus on the employer to state why he or she cannot provide that flexibility.

The Minister of State said on Committee Stage that he could not accept this amendment because it is contrary to the agreement reached by the parental leave working group. As I said on a previous occasion, we should emphasise that our role as legislators is different to that of employers. My proposal is in the interests of employers and would benefit them. I cannot see any reason this amendment should not be accepted. Other amendments can be argued against on the basis of their cost, but such an argument cannot be made in this instance because this amendment does not involve a cost to the State. It would not cost anything to provide for flexibility. It is somewhat arbitrary to state that ten weeks should elapse between periods of parental leave. There is no logical need for such a provision. This section of the Bill should be deleted and the question of parental leave should be a matter for employers and employees to decide. Employees should have the right to ask for flexibility from employers. The onus should be on employers to state that they cannot provide that flexibility.

I second the amendment. Senator Tuffy has made a good point. Why is there a need to provide for a period of ten weeks? As a doctor, I approach issues of this kind by considering the problems faced by a parent who needs time off because of a child's illness. It is pretty hard to say that a child will be sick from a certain date until another date and the employee will be able to return to work thereafter. This amendment will not detract from the Bill. As Senator Tuffy said, the acceptance of the amendment will not cost any money, as far as any of us can see. I hope the Minister of State will accept the amendment.

This amendment proposes to delete section 3(b) of the Bill, which provides for a ten-week interval between periods of parental leave. As I said on Committee Stage, the effect of the amendment would be contrary to the parental leave working group’s recommendation that parental leave may be taken in separate periods, each consisting of a minimum of six continuous weeks. The working group’s recommendation resulted from a compromise agreement between employers and employees that offers employees greater flexibility when availing of their parental leave entitlement, while also considering the business needs of employers.

Section 3(b)(1A) implements the working group’s recommended interval period between blocks of parental leave. Section 3(b)(1B) allows for a flexible approach to the ten-week interval by allowing employers and employees, or their representatives, to agree to a shorter interval if that suits the employee’s circumstances and the employer’s business needs.

The new provision in section 3(a)(ii) gives employees an entitlement to greater flexibility in the way their parental leave may be taken. It may suit some employees to take a period of parental leave of between six and eight weeks during the summer holidays. Section 3(a)(ii) entitles them to do so while retaining the right to take the rest of their leave at a later stage. If that provision were not in place, the employer could insist that the entire 14-week period be taken in one period or not at all. In agreeing to the new entitlement, employers sought an element of control over the length of the interval between periods of leave. The ten-week interval provided for in the Bill was agreed following the usual give and take on both sides. It would be wrong to deviate from it now.

I thank Senator Tuffy and her colleagues for raising this matter again. I am not prepared to accept the amendment, however, because the Bill's existing provisions reflect the intention of the working group in full. It includes a mechanism that gives greater flexibility to employees during the ten-week interval, if that suits employers and employees.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 6:

In page 7, between lines 9 and 10, to insert the following:

"4.—The Minister shall by regulations provide that—

(i) an employee shall have a right to request more flexible parental leave arrangements than those provided for under the Parental Leave Acts 1998 and 2005,

(ii) the employer is obliged seriously to consider any such request, and

(iii) refusal of the employee's request should only be justified by the employer giving particulars of the business case for the refusal.".

Like the last amendment, this amendment has been proposed in an attempt to enshrine flexibility in the legislation. It relates to the ability of an employee to seek flexible leave arrangements. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has sought regulations of the kind mentioned in this amendment. I am sure the Minister of State will reply by talking about the working group, as he did in response to amendment No. 5.

I wish to discuss the role of Members of the Oireachtas. I appreciate that Senators are elected by a broader electorate. I was elected by members of local authorities throughout the country who, in turn, were elected by the entire electorate. It is obvious that Dáil Deputies are elected by the whole electorate, including employers and employees. Why has the parental leave working group been given the power to make decisions? As legislators, we have to take the working group's recommendations into account, when we should be primarily focusing on the wishes of those who elected us.

One has to make a judgment when one is confronted by the different interests in society. Members of the Oireachtas, who can claim much more legitimately to represent the overall population, should have the power to make decisions on the contents of legislation. That power should not lie exclusively with the working group, the work of which I respect. I understand the need to consult and take on board the various recommendations which are presented to us. I have no problem with the working group's recommendations being put before us, as the Minister of State has done. It is right and proper that we should take its suggestions into account. I do not think the working group should make decisions for us, however. The Minister of State seems to be saying, in effect, that we have to stick with the decisions made by the working group.

I second the amendment and support Senator Tuffy's comments, although I do not wish to repeat what she said. I complained on Committee Stage that the Minister of State was constantly relying on the working group's recommendations. He and his senior colleague, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, can overrule those recommendations. I do not think the relevant Minister has stuck so rigidly to the recommendations of a working group during a debate on any other Bill I have been involved with in this House. While we have to recognise and appreciate the work done by many working groups, we should acknowledge that Ministers have the power to amend and improve on the recommendations they make. Some of these recommendations would have resulted in better legislation had they been improved along the lines we have suggested or had the Minister taken on board the reasoning of Members on the Government side. What has been suggested in the House today is not only supported by the Opposition, but also by the Government side. The Minister of State should take responsibility for the legislation and improve it where possible without tying his hands behind his back, as he seems to have done by way of sticking to the strict recommendations of the working group.

I am a little at odds with this amendment and would be very concerned if it was accepted. It would be a recipe for industrial chaos in some locations. One might as well not have a Bill at all and stipulate that people are entitled to parental leave such that there would be a free-for-all without any prescribed conditions. One needs to be prescriptive in this area. The Minister is being prescriptive, just as prescriptions are made regarding annual holidays and bank holidays. It would be ludicrous and an act of madness to allow people to negotiate their holidays on an annual basis and to allow the entitlements in this regard to vary from company to company. It would certainly not help to sustain our economic well-being.

People are sometimes inclined to believe that because our economy has grown over a number of years and is now doing well, we can throw whatever we like at it and hope the ship stays afloat. This is not the way to go. I agree fully with the prescriptions in the Bill, which is a step in the right direction. I agree with the sentiments expressed to the effect that it should be reviewed after some time to determine how it is working in practice and, if necessary, modified in light of the experience of beneficiaries of parental leave and the imposition it represents on employment. Ultimately, if one does not have employment, one is certainly not giving a service or serving well the parental situation. This was largely the case under the laissez-faire policies of the Government in the 1980s, whereby people had to leave Ireland and find employment abroad. This had an impact on our society for well over a decade. Now that this problem has been corrected, it is important that we maintain an even keel.

I note Senator Jim Walsh's point, but the Taoiseach is a socialist and said so himself. If he were here, I am sure he would support us in this matter.

He is also realistic.

I am also fairly realistic. Most businesses that are well run will be flexible but those that are not so well run will not be as flexible as one would like them to be. It is well worth taking account of the amendment.

I have always contended that while this Bill concerns parental leave and looking after children, children are the responsibility of society as a whole and not just their parents. This is because our economy will proposer to the extent that they succeed. Our economy has prospered and we have done incredibly well over the past 30 years because of initiatives such as free education. Should we really make people pay for that? In referring to free education, I include free secondary education. Such initiatives have improved the country as a whole. What we seek is a small measure in that we all have an interest in the welfare of the children of the country, not just their parents.

On Senator Jim Walsh's point, I do not see how it is a free-for-all in terms of employees. First, parental leave is not paid and it will be difficult to encourage people to take it in the first place. It is not only for the common good but also for the good of the economy because it encourages people to stay in the workforce. It probably discourages people from taking sick leave inappropriately or going absent from work because they feel they cannot be upfront with their employers regarding their reasons for seeking leave. If one has a flexible employer, one is more likely to work harder and want to remain in one's job. I do not understand why it is not in the interest of the employer to introduce the kind of flexibility I seek and why it is not in the interest of the Government to enshrine it in law.

We are trying to have it both ways in this legislation. We are saying that there could be flexibility but only if the employer agrees to it. Why not enshrine the provision for flexibility in law from the outset? A protection still exists in that if the employer cannot be flexible and can provide reasons therefor——

Is the Senator talking about extending flexibility?

I am saying that the onus should be on the employer to say why he cannot provide the flexibility sought by the employee.

As it is now 3.15 p.m., I am required to put the following question in accordance with an order of the Seanad of this day: "That amendments Nos. 6 and 7 are hereby negatived and that the Bill is hereby received for final consideration and passed."

Question put.
The Seanad divided: Tá, 29; Níl, 18.

  • Brady, Cyprian.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Callanan, Peter.
  • Cox, Margaret.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • Dardis, John.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Feeney, Geraldine.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam.
  • Glynn, Camillus.
  • Hanafin, John.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Kett, Tony.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Lydon, Donal J.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Mansergh, Martin.
  • Morrissey, Tom.
  • Moylan, Pat.
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
  • O’Brien, Francis.
  • O’Rourke, Mary.
  • Ormonde, Ann.
  • Phelan, Kieran.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • White, Mary M.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.


  • Bannon, James.
  • Browne, Fergal.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Coonan, Noel.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Finucane, Michael.
  • Hayes, Brian.
  • Henry, Mary.
  • McCarthy, Michael.
  • McDowell, Derek.
  • Norris, David.
  • O’Meara, Kathleen.
  • Phelan, John.
  • Quinn, Feargal.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Terry, Sheila.
  • Tuffy, Joanna.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Dardis and Moylan; Níl, Senators B. Hayes and Terry.
Question declared carried.