Fines (Payment and Recovery) Bill 2013: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage

Debate resumed on amendment No. 11:
In page 18, between lines 9 and 10, to insert the following:
"(1) The existence of an attachment order shall—
(a) not be grounds for dismissal,
(b) prohibit discrimination in employment, including at the recruitment stage.".
- (Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn)

The Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Donohoe, suggested that what I am seeking to do with this amendment might be better achieved by amending other legislation. This issue was raised previously on Committee Stage. Does the Government believe this is not a legal issue or does it think it may be an issue that requires amendments to other legislation? If it is the latter, why did the Government not widen the scope of this Bill and change its Long Title to include "miscellaneous issues" in order to amend all the relevant legislation as a tidying up exercise? Either the Government does not think the law needs to be changed in this respect or it believes it may be an issue requiring amendments to other legislation.

It is not proposed to accept Deputy Mac Lochlainn's amendment. In so far as the Deputy believes the law should be changed in the direction he proposes, it would not be appropriate to make such changes in the context of this Bill. It would, however, be appropriate for him to consider introducing amendments to, for example, the Unfair Dismissals Acts, which are the responsibility for the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Discrimination in the workplace is covered by the equality Acts, and the Employment Equality Acts in particular. The Deputy's proposals are not regarded as justifying or requiring an amendment to the law but if the Deputy wishes to pursue the matter further I respectfully suggest he should consider the aforementioned Acts as more appropriate vehicles. The Minister for Justice and Equality is not proposing changes in that regard.

May I make a final point of clarification?

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has raised this as an issue. I do not have the legal expertise to adjudicate on whether it is. I am merely asking if it is the advice of the Department of Justice and Equality and the Minister of State's opinion that the issues raised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions are not ones that will require legal change. I do not have the expertise to make that call. Does the Minister of State believe it is not necessary to change anything?

Like me, I am sure the Minister would always be interested in what the Irish Congress of Trade Unions had to state about any matter, but he is not persuaded that the particular alteration to the law set out in the Deputy's amendment ought to be accepted by him or the House. That is not to criticise anybody, ICTU or otherwise. If there is an issue congress wishes to discuss or raise with the Minister at any point, I am sure it will have an opportunity to do so, but it is not proposed to accept the amendment.

Amendment put and declared lost.

The next amendment is in the name of Deputy Mick Wallace. There are quite a number of amendments in his name. As he is not present to discuss amendments No. 12 to 16, inclusive, I have to move on.

Amendments Nos. 12 to 16, inclusive, not moved.
Bill received for final consideration and passed.