Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (350)

Michael Healy-Rae


350. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide the names of the four persons she appointed to the Social Welfare Tribunal Board; the amount each member has been paid in expenses and so on from the date of their appointment to 1 March 2013; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13034/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The purpose of the Social Welfare Tribunal is to deal with cases where entitlement to Jobseeker’s Benefit or Allowance is refused due to an involvement in a trade dispute. Due to its structure and purpose the revised Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies does not apply to the Social Welfare Tribunal. The Chairperson is sourced by the Department of Social Protection by way of a recommendation from the Labour Court with regard to a particular candidate’s suitability. The current Chairperson has held the position since 2003. He is a former Rights Commissioner (1982 to 2001) with extensive experience in dispute resolution and has been proven to hold all of the qualifications, skills and competencies necessary for the position.

In view of his proven suitability and his stated willingness to continue in the position I re-appointed the Chairperson for a further three year term commencing on 5th October 2012.

Relevant legislation provides that the four ordinary members of the Tribunal are appointed by the Minister on the recommendation of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and the Irish Business Employer Confederation (IBEC). As the term of appointment to the Tribunal expired in October 2012 both ICTU and IBEC were requested to forward their nominations for the next term and I subsequently appointed the four ordinary members recommended for a three year period effective from 5th October 2012.

The names of the Chairperson and of the four Ordinary Members of the Board will be supplied to the Deputy directly.

Members of the Tribunal do not receive a salary although attendance fees are payable for hearings and meetings. Members are also entitled to standard travel and subsistence allowances if appropriate. However, demand for the services of the Social Welfare Tribunal is very infrequent. From 2004 to date only three applications for adjudication by the Tribunal have been made, two in 2009 and one in 2010. The total expenditure for all expenses/fees relating to three hearings in 2009 and 2010 came to €6,084. No expenditure has been incurred by any member of the Tribunal since 2010.