Social Welfare Bill 2012: Report Stage

Before we commence, I remind Members that a Senator may speak only once on Report Stage, except for the proposer of the amendment, who may reply to the discussion on the amendment. Also, on Report Stage, each amendment must be seconded. Amendment No. 1, in the names of Senators Cullinane, Ó Clochartaigh and Reilly, arises from Committee proceedings. Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 are related and may be discussed together, by agreement. Is that agreed?

In that event, the amendments will be discussed separately.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 3, line 5, after "WELFARE" to insert ", PENSIONS AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS".

We discussed the matter to which this amendment relates on Committee Stage. I listened to what the Minister and those on the Government benches had to say in respect of it. We must remind ourselves of the matters on which we are voting in the context of the contents of the Bill. The legislation provides for cuts to child benefit, which we will not have an opportunity to discuss because the amendments we have tabled in this regard have been ruled out of order. The Bill also makes provision for a cut in the respite care grant. We engaged in a fairly extensive debate on that matter on Committee Stage. The Bill makes further provision in respect of cutting the entitlement period for jobseeker's benefit by three months.

There are other provisions within this legislation which go beyond the scope of what one might define as social welfare. I refer, in this regard, to changes to pension entitlements. We discussed this issue on Committee Stage, at which point the Minister tried to misrepresent both my party's position in respect of it and also what I said. The Bill also contains provisions in respect of a number of anomalies that were created when the relevant legislation was rushed through last year. Furthermore, the Bill makes provision for changes to PRSI. These will have a disproportionate impact on low-income families. For all of these reasons, we want the name of the Bill to be changed. We are of the view that it should be styled the Social Welfare, Pensions and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2012.

I welcome the commitment the Minister made yesterday in respect of coming before the House early in the new year in order to discuss next year's social welfare Bill. That is a welcome commitment and the House should follow up on it. I have no doubt the Minister will return to us next year with legislation in which she will be seeking to take further moneys from social welfare recipients. I want to take part in constructive and helpful discussions during which we might consider where savings can be made, not just in the area of social welfare but across the board. We should seek to discover those other areas in which revenue might be raised. It would be extremely worthwhile to have a debate on this matter.

I also welcome what the Minister said on Committee Stage with regard to ensuring that we invest in services and examining exactly how the money in the Department of Social Protection's Vote is spent. In the context of how we support children, carers and people with disabilities, service provision is as important as the financial supports on offer. I agree with a great deal of what the Minister said in this regard on Committee Stage. If she comes before the House early in the new year and takes part in genuine discussions in respect of this matter, it would make things a great deal better for everyone involved because we could all do our job as legislators.

It is regrettable that almost all of the amendments tabled on Report Stage have been ruled out of order. There are many elements of the budget which we, as legislators, will not be in a position to properly scrutinise. That is regrettable, but it is a matter for the Cathaoirleach. I accept that this is more of a procedural problem than anything else.

I strongly disagree with many of the provisions contained in the Bill. However, I acknowledge the contributions made by Senators on all sides yesterday in seeking a more robust and genuine engagement early next year on how we can ensure that we protect the vulnerable in society, carers and those for whom they care and people with disabilities. There will be a constructive engagement by Senators from all parties and none if the Minister keeps her promise to come before us early in the new year to discuss the matters to which I refer.

I second the amendment. My party and I completely and utterly disagree with the ruling of the Chair on amendment No. 3 and related amendments tabled by Independent Senators and Sinn Féin.

I have been told that we cannot seek to delete the Government's proposal to cut €26 million from the respite care grant. We are being told we cannot discuss it because it is a potential charge on the State. That is not correct. The State is proposing to make this saving but it has not come to pass. It was voted on yesterday,. It was supposed to come back on Report Stage. It is not a potential charge on the State. I fundamentally disagree with the ruling and I put the House on notice that my party and I will seek independent legal advice on the ruling on this amendment. I do not wish to cast aspersions on an individual, but I completely and fundamentally disagree with the ruling because it is not a potential charge on the State.

The ruling has been made.

On a point of order, Article 21.1.2° of the Constitution states:

Every Money Bill passed by Dáil Éireann shall be sent to Seanad Éireann for its recommendations.

...and under Article 21.2.1°:

Every Money Bill sent to Seanad Éireann for its recommendations shall ... be returned to Dáil Éireann, which may accept or reject all or any of the recommendations of Seanad Éireann.

The Seanad is not amending this Bill, but the Members are simply making recommendations to the Dáil. Therefore, there cannot be a cost to the Exchequer. I do not accept this ruling and ask for a legal opinion.

Unfortunately, the ruling has been made. I have no choice. I must point out the Social Welfare Bill 2012 is not a money Bill.

On a point of order, why was the reasoning not communicated to us on Committee Stage, because the amendments have not changed? If this information is correct, it should have been communicated to us before Committee Stage. It went through the Committee Stage and now suddenly it is a cost to the Exchequer, but it was not a cost to the Exchequer yesterday. I want a ruling on that matter, a Leas-Chathaoirleach

Report Stage is totally different from Committee Stage.

Some 24 hours after the Committee Stage debate, the amendments are now seen to be a cost to the Exchequer. What is the ruling on that issue?

On Committee Stage, we were dealing with the deletion of sections which are technically different from an amendment to the section. Today, amendments were tabled and the Cathaoirleach has ruled on them.

There were deletions yesterday but not all our amendments were deletions.

Deletions of sections are not amendments. I do not wish to usurp the decision of the Cathaoirleach in making the ruling. It is a matter that should be brought up at the Committee on Procedure and Privileges

The Leas-Chathaoirleach is being challenged.

I made a ruling and we are not going any further. We will proceed with the amendment.

The ruling was not made by the House.

We are dealing with the amendment tabled by Senator Cullinane. I do not want Members to engage further on the ruling because I am not in a position to change it.

What is the point of a Report Stage debate in Seanad Éireann if we can do nothing to a Bill? Tell me as an Independent Senator what role I can play on a Report Stage debate of a Social Welfare Bill? That ruling tells me I can do nothing.

There are at least two amendments, tabled by Senator Cullinane and his party. Everybody can speak before the Bill is passed. The ruling has been made and I am not in a position to change it. I understand the Senator's frustration. Unfortunately, I cannot change the ruling.

The Minister can change her mind, for example.

That is a possibility, but that is a matter for the Minister, not for the Chair.

I am formally calling for a suspension of the sitting in order that the Leaders and the Whips of each group will meet the Cathaoirleach. Mistakes can be made. We should take the opportunity to discuss specifically the ruling out of order of amendments on the respite care grant.

Unfortunately, I cannot accept that request. The only person who can call for a suspension of the sitting is the Leader of the House.

On a point of order, I ask for the suspension of the sitting now. There is a limited time remaining. It is our last day and we must do the Bill justice.

That is not our fault.

Senator Keane, that is not a point of order. I call on Senator Darragh O'Brien to continue on amendment No. 1. Does he wish to continue on it?

I have ruled on the issue and I am not changing my mind.

I respect that, a Leas-Chathaoirleach.

I call the Senator to speak on amendment No. 1.

I formally seconded amendment No. 1. It is unfortunate that we are in a position that we must table amendments to the Title of the Bill to show our disgust with the measures that have been taken in the Bill.

I am speaking on the amendment. The time is limited. As an aside, let me say to Senator Keane that it is not our fault that the time for debate is restricted. We did not seek a guillotining of the debate.

We did not ask inane questions for an hour and half yesterday on the section, in which Senator Bacik repeatedly got up and asked questions about the Title of the Bill. We knew exactly what was happening yesterday.

I ask the Senator to confine his remarks to the amendments before us.

I will, but that is the reason we find ourselves in this situation.

Sinn Féin placed the amendment.

I am glad we did.

It is a good job that Sinn Féin tabled the amendment. This shows how ridiculous is the procedure being used here today. The only way we can stand up and discuss the respite care grant today is by speaking against the Title of the Bill. We intend to do so and the sooner we move towards a vote the better. We will return to this issue on Fifth Stage.

Yesterday there was a great deal of claptrap about the Title of the Bill. I am afraid that it will be repeated today. If we must vote on it, let us vote. It is regrettable because there are serious problems technically with the Bill, in particular in regard to section 13. The claw back is highly dangerous. There is no discrimination between people who have received over-payment and people who are responsible for fraud. There is a possibility that people can be driven below the minimum wage, below poverty level as they will be able to take 15% from them. I want to discuss the claw back of 15% of the payment, not some clap trap about the Title of the Bill, which is a waste of time. We have an opportunity to do a little good. We have no possibility of doing anything else. May I advise my colleagues in the Fianna Fáil Party - I hope they take legal advice on it - that I support them very strongly, but they should take the strongest case, which I think is on amendment No. 4, which was ruled out of order. Draft orders pursuant to subsection (4) should be debated by the Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection prior to their finalisation. I demanded yesterday to know the cost. It is an absolute nonsense and an insult to our intelligence. There is no cost. Speech is free in the Chamber and it is free not only in the independence of thought but it actually costs nothing. How can anybody, apart from a complete lunatic suggest there is a cost? This is a device to frustrate the democratic operation of Seanad Éireann and it should be resisted and if possible by legal means. I request them to include that and take the strongest amendment and do not choose a ruling on which one can be defeated. Take a case where any nincompoop can see it is an insult to reason. If we are to vote on this blasted amendment, let us vote and get on and do whatever we can with the substance of the Bill.

I remind Members that we are discussing amendment No. 1.

This is a difficult Bill. The Government's job is to govern. We have acknowledged in the past day or two that we need new ways to deal with social protection.

What has that to do with the Title of the Bill?

I am speaking on the Social Welfare Bill. I wish to highlight an issue I believe has been forgotten, the welfare of farmers. I wish to raise their concerns about the issue of the farm assist scheme. They are hurting. They are concerned about the income and child disregards. It fits appropriately to the Title of the Bill.

Vote against them.

We did not get to this issue yesterday. This is the reason I am making the case that we need to conduct our business differently. The social welfare budget should be discussed thoroughly in the future by the Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection. We need to ensure no single group is polarised in this way.

I am sorry, a Chathaoirligh, I object to this strongly because we are supposed to be concentrating on a specific item and the Member opposite is not so concentrating.

I reminded the Senator to speak to amendment No. 1. She has been doing that so far.

I remind her, however, that I do not want her to wander or digress.

Sure. I am speaking about the Social Welfare Bill and what I have learned and gained from listening to everybody in the House.

I remind the Senator that she cannot speak generally on the Social Welfare Bill at this point. She must speak to amendment No. 1 which relates to the Title.

I am saying to the Minister that we should do our business differently in the future in order that everyone will not be up in arms in the final moments when it is so difficult to change things. If we do not do things differently, we will never do things any better than we are currently.

Sa chomhthéacs ina bhfuilimid ag labhairt, tá sé tábhachtach breathnú ar an Teideal atá ar an mBille seo. Tá an t-ainm "an Bille Leasa Shóisialaigh 2012" á thabhairt againn ar an mBille seo. B'fhéidir go mbeadh sé níos cruinne "an Bille aimhleasa shóisialaigh" a thabhairt air, i gcomhthéacs na ndaoine a bhfuil sé ag déanamh dochair dóibh. Tá a fhios ag an Aire go maith go bhfuil sé fíorthábhachtach go dtarraingeodh muid aird ar na ceisteanna éagsúla. Tá an-fhrustrachas ar na Seanadóirí atá anseo inniu nach bhfuil deis againn plé nó cíoradh iomlán a dhéanamh ar na tagairtí éagsúla atá sa reachtaíocht seo do dhaoine éagsúla. Ba cheart dúinn smaoineamh ar cé hiad na daoine ar a bhfuil an Bille aimhleasa shóisialaigh seo ag déanamh aimhleasa. Tá sé ag déanamh aimhleasa ar na cúramóirí a bhfuil an t-airgead gearrtha siar orthu. Tá siad i dteagmháil linn go rialta. Níl said sásta leis na ciorruithe atá á ndéanamh orthu. Tá sé ag déanamh aimhleasa ar chlanna. Tá mé tar éis bheith ag cruinnithe poiblí ar fud na tíre.

Níl an Seanadóir ag caint faoi Theideal an Bhille.

Tá mé ag caint faoin Bhille aimhleasa. Sílim go bhfuil sé fíorthábhachtach míniú-----

Tá an Seanadóir imithe i bhfad ón Teideal.

Iarraim ar an Seanadóir Keane gan cur isteach orm anois.

B'fhéidir nach dtaitníonn sé leis an Seanadóir Keane é a chloisteáil, ach is í seo an fhírinne. Tá aimhleas á dhéanamh ag an mBille seo. Tá mé ag rá go mbeadh sé níos cruinne "Bille aimhleasa" a thabhairt ar an reachtaíocht seo. Is mó scéalta atáimíd ag cloisteáil faoin aimhleas atá á dhéanamh. Tá daoine a cheapanna nach bhfuil an t-athrú atá á dhéanamh ar an liúntas um fhilleadh ar oideachas chun a leasa. Tá an sean-dream agus na daoine le míchumais a fhaigheann an pacáiste sochar teaghlaigh ag rá nach bhfuil an gearradh siar atá á dhéanamh ar an gcúnamh leictreachais agus gutháin a fhaigheann siad chun a leasa. Tá na rudaí seo chun a gcuid aimhleasa, seachas a gcuid leasa. Tá sé féaráilte é sin a lua.

Tá an Seanadóir ag úsáid na Gaeilge chun dul amach i bhfad ón bpointe.

I gcead don Seanadóir-----

Is droch-rud é úsáid a bhaint as an Ghaeilge chun é sin a dhéanamh.

I ask the Senator to, please, allow Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh to continue, without interruption.

Níl sé ceart nó cóir.

Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil Gaeilge líofa ag an gCathaoirleach. Tá Gaeilge ag an Aire, mar atá ag an Seanadóir Keane. Tá córas aistriúcháin ar fáil do Sheanadóirí a theastaíonn uathu é a úsáid. Ba chóir dóibh leas a bhaint as.

Aontaím leis sin.

Seasaim leis an gceart atá agam mo chuid ráitis a dhéanamh i nGaeilge sa Seanad. Is rud é atá déanta agam go mion minic.

Brostaigh ort, a Sheanadóir. Níl againn ach uair a' chloig.

Tá an tiománaí ag teacht.

Aontaím leis an Seanadóir ar an bpointe sin.

Tá sé seo chun aimhleasa an dream a bhfuil cártaí leighis acu agus atá ag brath ar na cártaí sin. Tá costais leighis méadaithe trí huaire orthu.

Táimid ag caint faoi Theideal an Bhille.

Tá sé chun aimhleasa an dream-----

I ask the Senator to, please, stick to amendment No. 1. I ask Senator Cáit Keane not to continue interrupting.

Go bunúsach, mar sin, nuair atáimid ag caint ar Theideal an Bhille seo i mbliana agus an bhliain seo chugainn, b'fhéidir gur cheart dúinn bheith níos soiléire agus níos cruinne, ionas go dtuigfeadh an pobal amuigh ansin céard go díreach atá á dhéanamh againn. Tá an Bille seo ag bualadh clann. B'fhéidir gur cheart dúinn "Bille buille don chlann" a thabhairt air. Tá an Bille seo ag gearradh siar ar dhaoine a bhraitheann ar sochar leanaí. Tá gearradh siar de thrí mhí á dhéanamh ar shochar cuardaitheora poist. Tá laghdú á dhéanamh ar líon na ndaoine a oibríonn sna seirbhísí poiblí, cuid acu sa Roinn Coimirce Sóisialaí. Ní chóir dúinn dallamullóg a chur ar dhaoine. Tá an Rialtas ag rá gurb é an Bille Leasa Shóisialaigh 2012 atá anseo, ach táimid ag rá gur cheart cur leis sin os rud é go bhfuil ábhar eile á chlúdach ag an reachtaíocht seo. Ba chóir dúinn bheith cruinn faoi sin. Is léir go bhfuil an Rialtas ag iarraidh an Bhille seo a bhrú tríd. Tá sé soiléir nach bhfuil fonn ar an Rialtas páirt a ghlacadh in aon díospóireacht domhain ar na buncheistanna a ardaíonn an reachtaíocht seo. Is léir go bhfuil cleasaíocht polaitiúla ar siúl ag an Rialtas. Ba cheart go léireodh an Teideal atá ar an mBille na hábhair sin ar fad. Is mór an náire é don Rialtas go bhfuil an méid seo á dhéanamh acu. Is mór an náire é gur cuireadh gilitín orainn aréir nuair a bhíomar ag iarraidh dul tríd na ceisteanna éagsúla seo. Is mór an náire é gur vótáil an dream eile an Bille seo tríd leis an Teideal seo air inné. Ba chóir do gach éinne sa Rialtas agus sa Fhreasúra an Teideal a athrú, nó fiú vótáil i gcoinne an Bhille seo inniu.

I suggest we ignore the rulings of the Chair. We should bypass them by taking the matter into our own hands. We should persist in discussing the relevant issues in defiance of the fact that all of this has been ruled out of order. If necessary, we should all get ourselves thrown out. We should discuss the substance of the Bill in the interests of those affected by it. It is a disgrace that every amendment, with the exception of some rubbish about the Title, has been ruled out of order.

I ask the Senator to resume his seat.

There is no legal basis for this.

I ask the Senator to resume his seat.

The Chair has acted illegally and, therefore, forfeited the Chair's authority.

The Chair is on his feet.

I ask Seanad Éireann to do its duty by discussing these matters and, if necessary, absolutely ignoring the Chair.

Has Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh concluded his contribution on amendment No. 1?

Tá mé críochnaithe.

Before I call the Minister to respond, I remind Senators that, with the exception of the mover of the amendment, Senator David Cullinane, those who have spoken cannot come back in.

Tá an Bille seo an-tábhachtach ar fad do gach éinne agus do gach réigiún sa tír, go mórmhór os rud é go mbeidh níos mó ná €20 billiún á chaitheamh ar choimirce sóisialta sa bhliain 2013. Tá áthas orm go mbeidh 10,000 suíomh breise ar fáil dóibh siúd atá ag iarraidh filleadh ar an gcóras oideachais nó an áit oibre. That is a considerable achievement in the Bill. Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh only sees the negatives, but there are many positives. I have mentioned the 10,000 extra places we are providing. We are also providing 6,000 extra after-school and child care places. These issues were of some significance to Members on all sides of the House last year.

We are trying to take the positives out of this process. I notice that a number of Senators spoke about the positives. I repeat that I intend to publish the Mangan report which relates to proposals for significant and important changes to the child benefit system by the end of January. That will present very difficult choices to Senators of all parties and none. We will have to decide where the balance lies, taking account of the current state of the economy. Some of these choices will relate to people on middle incomes. I remind the House that from early next year anyone in the United Kingdom or the North of Ireland who earns over £60,000 will receive no child benefit. It is going to be withdrawn entirely on the basis of the principle that it should be targeted. We have to bear in mind, in social terms, that a generation of people in their 30s and 40s, many of whom have two or three children or more, are heavily indebted in relation to their mortgages. Many of them regard the direct child benefit payment in cash as being of importance to them.

I hope I will be invited to return to discuss the Mangan report some time in February, after Senators have had an opportunity to examine it. On that occasion, if we were to get an indication from parties and individuals of how agreement might be reached on certain difficult choices and the administrative implementation of these choices, it would be a breakthrough in the country's budget tradition. If the Seanad were prepared to assist in the process of reaching agreement, it would represent a strong endorsement of the case for the retention of the Seanad and the type of debate that takes place in this House.

A Sinn Féin speaker made a comment about taking things off people. I do not know how closely Senator David Cullinane looked at Sinn Féin's proposal to mandatorily increase the distribution from approved retirement funds without any lower limit, but I can tell him I had a good look at it.

With regard to the many women on low and middle incomes in saving for pensions, I advise Senator David Cullinane that if he consults some actuaries, he will find that the current distribution regime which has been supported by all parties is deemed to be severe enough for many people. Sinn Féin's proposal would increase the mandatory distribution rate by about 50%. I know it did not receive much attention, but it would penalise highly those with very low pensions who may not be public servants and who may not have other sources of savings. Sinn Féin's proposal does not provide for a free ride either. When we are discussing the nuances of the positives and the negatives of the proposals of different parties, if we are entering a period of honesty, let us be honest about all the proposals made because they are not free. If one asks an actuary to examine them, one will find that for people on low incomes, particularly women, about whom the Senator has spoken, his proposals deserve a great deal of careful consideration.

The Minister is digressing from the subject matter of the amendment.

A Leas-Chathaoirleach-----

If I allow the Minister to digress, I will have to allow the debate to be expanded further. I ask the Minister to stick to amendment No. 1 on the Title. I am loath to interrupt her, but I must be fair to everyone.

I was just trying to reply to some of the points raised.

The second point I wish to make is that the advice of the Parliamentary Counsel and the legal advice - I will not repeat the reasons I gave yesterday - is that there is no requirement to extend the Title of the Bill. I understand, as Senator David Norris said, that the amendment is a vehicle to allow a wider discussion on the Bill. Members will appreciate that I have nothing to do with the rulings, but technically and legally the advice of the Parliamentary Counsel is that there is no requirement to extend the Title of the Bill. I accept that advice and that is all I can say on the matter.

I remind Members that there will be a social welfare Bill in the spring in which pension issues will be addressed. In the debate in the Dáil we had time to deal with these matters, even though we lost a good deal of time in the discussion, rather like what happened this morning when about an hour was lost in the debate in the Seanad. I will bring forward proposals to deal with requests made by the various organisations which have an interest in defined benefit schemes. They will be reflected in the social welfare Bill to be brought forward in the spring.

On a point of order-----


Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has raised a point of order and I have to deal with it.

The Minister has strayed from the amendment on the Title of the Bill.

I admonished her on that issue and cannot allow that to happen. What she plans to do in the spring is irrelevant to the Title of this Bill.

I was just saying the Title of the social welfare Bill to be brought forward in the spring will include the words "social welfare" and "pensions" because the Bill will address pension issues.

Senator David Cullinane is the only Member who has a right to rely, if he wishes to do so.

I do not agree with the Minister's-----

I chastised the Minister for wandering from the Title. I, therefore, ask the Senator to confine his remarks to it.

I do not agree with the Minister's view. I hold to the view that the Title of the Bill should be changed. It is regrettable and outrageous that we have to use this provision to have a discussion on the Bill on Report Stage, but that is where we have ended up because of the technicalities which may not be particularly relevant. I hope that, as we progress the debate, the Minister will listen to what we have to say, which is something that should happen. I did not mention taking money off people. What I said, if the Minister had listened, was that I welcomed some of what she had to say yesterday and that I would take part productively in discussions on the overall social welfare spend of more than €20 billion which I agree is significant, how that money was spent, where we could achieve savings or find money elsewhere.

The Senator is wandering from the amendment.

A colleague reminded me that my duty in the Chair was to ensure speakers stuck to the amendments.

As we progress discussions on the Bill, it is in the Minister's interests to listen to what Members have to say, take off the blinkers and not repeat what Members did not say.

Amendment put:
The Seanad divided: Tá, 19; Níl, 29.

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Mullen, Rónán.
  • Norris, David.
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor.
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Donovan, Denis.
  • O'Sullivan, Ned.
  • Power, Averil.
  • Reilly, Kathryn.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • White, Mary M.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.


  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Clune, Deirdre.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Comiskey, Michael.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • D'Arcy, Jim.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Gilroy, John.
  • Harte, Jimmy.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Healy Eames, Fidelma.
  • Henry, Imelda.
  • Higgins, Lorraine.
  • Keane, Cáit.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Landy, Denis.
  • Moloney, Marie.
  • Moran, Mary.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • Noone, Catherine.
  • O'Keeffe, Susan.
  • O'Neill, Pat.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • Whelan, John.
Tellers: Tá, Senators David Cullinane and Trevor Ó Clochartaigh; Níl, Senators Paul Coghlan and Aideen Hayden.
Amendment declared lost.

Amendment No. 2 was not discussed with amendment No. 1 because that was not agreed to.

Amendment No. 2 not moved.

Amendment No. 3 has been ruled out of order as it involves a potential charge on the Exchequer.

Why is it out of order?

That matter has been ruled on.

It should not be out of order.

We were not allowed to discuss it last night either. It is a shame that a discussion on respite care was avoided by the Minister at every opportunity. She filibustered all day yesterday and we are not allowed to discuss the issue in the House.

With all due respect, while I understand the Senator's frustration----

On a point of order, we discussed the issue of respite care for approximately an hour and a half yesterday.

The point was made that-----

A vote was deliberately avoided.

Amendment No. 3 not moved.

Amendment No. 4 arose from Committee proceedings.

I withdraw my amendment for the same reasons.

Amendment No. 4 not moved.
Amendment No. 5 not moved.

Amendment No. 6 has been ruled out of order as it involves a potential charge on the Exchequer.

Amendment No. 6 not moved.

Amendment No. 7 has been ruled out of order as it involves a potential charge on the Exchequer.

Amendment No. 7 not moved.

Amendment No. 8 has been ruled out of order.

Amendment No. 8 not moved.

Amendment No. 9 has been ruled out of order.

Amendment No. 9 not moved.
Amendment No. 10 not moved.

Amendment No. 11 has been ruled out of order.

Amendment No. 11 not moved.

Amendments Nos. 12 and 13 have been ruled out of order as they involve a potential charge on the Exchequer.

Amendments Nos. 12 and 13 not moved.

Amendment No. 14 has been ruled out of order.

Amendment No. 14 not moved.

Amendment No. 15 has been ruled out of order.

Amendment No. 15 not moved.

Amendment No. 16 has been ruled out of order as it involves a potential charge on the Exchequer.

Amendment No. 16 not moved.
Amendment No. 17 not moved.

Amendment No. 18 has been ruled out of order.

Amendment No. 18 not moved.

Is it agreed that the Bill be received for final consideration?

I wish to comment on Fifth Stage.

We are on Report Stage.

Are we still on Report Stage?

We have dealt with Report Stage and a lot of the amendments were ruled out of order. We have not yet reached Fifth Stage.

Bill received for final consideration.