Higgins, Jim

Wednesday, 26 March 2003

Seanad Eireann Debate
Vol. 172 No. 4

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Order of Business.

I thank Senators on all sides for their expressions of solidarity and support for Deputy Howlin and me in our determination to refuse to be compelled to reveal our sources in regard to alleged Garda m...More Button

Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2003: Committee and Remaining Stages.

I move amendment No. 9: In page 4, before section 5, to insert the following new section:More Button

Finance Bill 2003 [ Certified Money Bill ] : Committee and Remaining Stages.

I support the thrust of the recommendation. While the minimum wage has increased from its initial level, it continues to be sparse and parsimonious. A person on the minimum wage is on a minimum standa...More Button

I advise the Acting Chairman that when he speaks ex cathedra, he should not make any pronouncements about the merits or otherwise of what was said. I refer to his remarks that the Minister's explanati...More Button

I remind the Minister that, notwithstanding the fact that a commitment was not given in the interim period, a clear commitment was given in the run up to the last election that the Government would re...More Button

One must acknowledge that the Minister has increased the exemption point by €14, which has given a certain amount of relief. However, the clear impression conveyed to the electorate and to a considera...More Button

I agree with the Minister that there should be a contribution, albeit a nominal one, in relation to all services. In regard to the Freedom of Information Bill, I cannot recall how it got enmeshed into...More Button

Two groups have opted out from the new social partnership arrangement, the farmers and the voluntary sector. Did this feature in the negotiations with the voluntary sector as one of the issues which w...More Button

I subscribe to Senator O'Toole's proposal which is an excellent idea. The SSIA was seen as a vehicle for delivering the kind of savings required by people wishing to purchase a house. I made the point...More Button

I move recommendation No. 6: In page 13, before section 2, to insert the following new section: “2.–Section 15 of the Principal Act is amended by the insertion after subsection (2) of the following su...More Button

The purpose of a taxation regime is to raise revenue in order to run the State. The purpose of tax bands, allowances and credits is to achieve a balance between the amount taken from one's income or r...More Button

That is four years down the road.More Button

On a point of order, what is wrong—More Button

I agree with the Minister in relation to the fundamental change and turnabout effected under Mr. Haughey's leadership in the post-1987 period. The Minister must acknowledge however, that what Mr. Haug...More Button

Correct.More Button

I thank the Minister for that.More Button

I recall vividly my work as Opposition Chief Whip at the time, trying to maintain the delicate balance of keeping a minority Government in power, provided it continued with a fiscal policy that would ...More Button

I bring to Senator Mansergh's attention the example of Campus Stadium Ireland.More Button

Precisely. Millions were spent preparing the plans for the stadium and all of that money has gone into a hole in the ground. The money has been lost on a hare-brained idea.More Button

The Minister referred to employment during his recitation of the general achievements, etc., of the Government. If I recall the official statistics correctly, 23,000 additional people were recruited t...More Button

Without these Civil Service jobs, employment figures would have decreased by 5,000. What are the Minister's plans in relation to his responsibility for the public service?More Button

I move recommendation No. 7: In page 13, before section 3, to insert the following new section: “3.–Section 446A of the Principal Act is amended in subsection (2) by the substitution of ‘€1,540' for ‘...More Button

Absolutely. The problem I seek to address in this recommendation is that the amount has not been increased. An increase is long overdue. That is the reason I propose doubling the allowance from €770 t...More Button

As regards the misrepresentation of the Fine Gael viewpoint, we want equal treatment for stay-at-home spouses and for people who go to work. As regards the allowance, the fact it has not been indexed ...More Button

I agree with the Senator. The Minister said that. However, the allowance is an integral part of the relief system. It should have been index linked. I feel strongly about it, therefore I will press th...More Button

I move recommendation No. 8: In page 13, before section 3, to insert the following new section: “3.–Section 448 of the Principal Act is amended in subsection (1) by the insertion of the following para...More Button

I move recommendation No. 9: In page 14, before section 6, to insert the following new section: “6.–Section 112 of the Principal Act is amended by the insertion of the following subsections after subs...More Button

I welcome that the Minister is prepared to consider this in the context of next year's deliberations. There is a marked lack of consistency in this area. The Minister said unemployment benefit is taxe...More Button

I move recommendation No. 10: In page 28, subsection (1)(b), line 47, to delete “€8,000” and substitute €8,600”. The purpose of this recommendation is to introduce an improvement to mortgage interest ...More Button

I would like to address a number of the arguments made by the Minister who is like Mandrake the Magician in the manner in which he can produce figures.More Button

The Leader's late esteemed brother once produced a famous phrase in the Dáil: “Baffle them with scientific confusion.”More Button

There may be some relevance in the Minister's comment that the abolition of the first-time buyer's grant is of lesser consequence in the greater Dublin area – or the Pale, which includes the Minister'...More Button

They were relying on the grant and have suffered as a result of its abolition, irrespective of any later decisions on the part of the Minister. He may have breached Cabinet confidentiality today but d...More Button

The people of the town remember the Minister very fondly also. It is a case of mutual admiration. We actually go back a bit in that regard. The Minister still plies his wares in Ballyhaunis. He is a p...More Button

I move recommendation No. 11: In page 28, subsection (1)(c), line 48, to delete “€4,000” and substitute “€4,300”. Recommendation put and declared lost. Section 9 agreed to. Sections 10 to 13, inclusiv...More Button


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