Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Dáil Eireann Debate
An Ceann Comhairle: Anois, iarratais chun tairisceana a dhéanamh an Dáil a chur ar athló faoi Bhuan Ordú 32. Before coming to the Order of Business, I propose to deal with a number of notices under Standing Order 32.
Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: I seek the adjournment of the Dáil concerning the following matter of public interest requiring urgent consideration, namely, the need for the Government to mark this year’s Traveller focus week by reversing its policy of refusing to recognise the Traveller community as a distinct ethnic group. Travellers continue to experience significant discrimination. The refusal to recognise their ethnicity officially limits the protections available to them under national, European and international law and denies them access to the protection of their cultural rights and basic services, as evidenced by the failure of local authorities to provide transient accommodation and the disproportional poor health outcomes among the community.
Deputy James Bannon: I seek the adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 32 to raise a matter of national importance, namely, the decrease in the value of Irish pension funds. More than 90% of such funds are expected to be in the red at the end of this year, which is another blow to the elderly and a threat to the welfare of those due to retire shortly despite the high-risk option proposed by the Minister for Social and Family Affairs, that is, to allow people to defer taking retirement annuities for two years.
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: I seek the adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 32 to discuss the following matter of local and national importance, namely, that the Minister for Transport should make an urgent statement in the House on yesterday’s €748 million takeover bid by Ryanair for Aer Lingus. As a 25% shareholder, will the Minister indicate to the Dáil how the Government intends to protect competition in the airline sector for Irish air passengers, protect national strategic aviation connectivity and uphold workers’ rights and conditions in the sector?
Deputy Pat Breen: I seek the adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 32 to discuss a matter of extreme importance, namely, the continuing job losses throughout the country, including the loss today of 300 jobs at Element Six in Shannon and FBD Insurance. Those 300 employees face a devastating Christmas with few alternative job proposals. I call on the Government, particularly the Tánaiste, to renew efforts to attract new industry to my region, given the fact that almost 1,700 people have lost their jobs since the Taoiseach took up his position.
Deputy Martin Ferris: Under Standing Order 32, I seek the adjournment of the House on the following matter of public interest requiring urgent consideration, namely, the need for the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Gormley, to examine the decision of the Environmental Protection Agency to grant a licence for the building of an incinerator on the Poolbeg peninsula, to explain how the decision could possibly contribute to the protection of the environment and to seek the reversal of this disastrous decision in the interests of environmental protection.
Deputy Arthur Morgan: I seek the adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 32 to discuss the following matter of urgent public concern, namely, that the Minister for Transport should use his influence to review the Aer Lingus decision to implement an early retirement package, which will join more employees to their defined benefit pension schemes and place more strain on their pension funds at a time when markets are in turmoil. It has been reported that a number of pension schemes will collapse within the next six months. According to a union report, the Aer Lingus supplementary scheme has lost close to €14 million in just six months. Adding more people to the pension scheme would only put further pressure on a severely strained fund.
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