Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Seanad Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 26 Mar 2002

Vol. 169 No. 15

Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2002: Fifth Stage.

Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

I am very pleased that we have got through this. I was going to use the words "galloped through this", but to do so would indicate undue haste when I am aware that the Minister's excellent staff has ruminated over these very serious matters and provided the best possible advice. While the legislation is flawed, it is not fatally so and one accepts the inevitability of the Government winning in these matters. I am sure the Minister has taken on board some of the very practical and, I hope, helpful suggestions made in our amendments. The more we gain in knowledge, the more we may be able to apply that knowledge to future decisions.

I thank the Minister and his staff for being with us today and I am grateful for his courtesy. Although he is sometimes flamboyant, I congratulate him and the Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, Deputy Hanafin, on their roles in getting the Bill through today.

I join Senator Ridge in thanking the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs, Deputy Dermot Ahern, who over the past five years has kept a very steady hand on his Department. I thank him for the courtesy he has shown to me as a Senator and spokesperson during the passage of each Social Welfare Bill through the House and I thank his staff for the courtesy they have shown to me and Opposition Members over the past five years. History will attest that the Minister has been a visionary in relation to social welfare during his term in office.

On behalf of my colleague, the Minister, Deputy Dermot Ahern, I thank Senators for their consideration of this important Bill which gives effect to the budget's provisions and which includes some of the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission regarding maintenance and charities. It updates the computer records of birth certificates and other registers. It is the final Social Welfare Bill that the Government will enact and it is a very important one in light of all that has happened in improving the lot of social welfare recipients over the past five years. I thank the officials from the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs for their continued work and courtesy.

Question put and agreed to.