I move amendment No. 1:
In page 4, before section 4, to insert the following new section:
"4. —The Principal Act is amended in section 242 as follows:
(a) in page 177, line 1, by deleting subsection (1)(a), and
(b) in page 177, after line 28, by inserting the following new subsection:
(4) Where a social welfare recipient is in receipt of a payment for a qualified adult or other dependent relative, that payment shall be paid directly to the qualified adult or dependent relative and shall be in his or her name.".
I will not labour the point because we briefly discussed the matter yesterday. However, I want to make a pitch on behalf of these qualified dependants, most of whom are women. In terms of pension payments, if we look at the profile of women who do not have their own social insurance records, it is more than likely that they had to give up their jobs when they married. According to the culture of the time, many stayed at home to rear their families, to look after their husbands and to keep house. They performed those tasks very well and we have all benefitted from their work.
While caring at home, however, they did not have any independence. These were women who could not even take out a loan. I remember an issue from many years ago where some individuals wanted to buy washing machines from the ESB but could not do so without the signatures of their husbands. They had no rights and, now they are in their twilight years, still do not have independence. With this measure, we could recognise the work they have done and give them some independence. As the Minister for Social and Family Affairs noted yesterday, an optional arrangement has been provided for with regard to this matter. The Minister and I realise that few women have managed to take it up and we will have done a good day's work by making it mandatory. He said that he does not need to provide for that in this Bill but I understand from his comments that he will consider it favourably and will make arrangements for it in the future.