O'Toole, Joe John

Thursday, 26 February 2004

Seanad Eireann Debate
Vol. 175 No. 15

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Order of Business.

It would be remiss of us not to note with congratulations the——More Button

I have not said anything yet.More Button

I will not mention that Fianna Fáil, the republican party, is in the news headlines. I extend congratulations to the Senator.More Button

I will be guided by the Cathaoirleach and ignore my notes. I recently raised the question of housing statistics with the Leader. It has been brought to my attention that the Department of the Environm...More Button

Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2004: Committee Stage.

As I am deeply suspicious about everything, although not about the Minister of State himself, I do not understand why the term has to be changed. Is this amendment simply for consistency? Does it impa...More Button

The term “general age” is confusing. I have never come across the term before in previous legislation. Senator McDowell raised a very valid point. Through the legislation there is mention of raising t...More Button

Why does the interpretations section not contain a definition of the term “general age”? Is this not needed?More Button

The point I am making is that is not in the section. By way of interpretation we have excluded certain people by name. We have special measures attaching to people from other groups in other parts of ...More Button

Senator McDowell has opened up a very tricky area, which is crucial. I did not understand that those working in our offices as support staff were all civil servants of the State. This has many implica...More Button

I will try to be helpful. I can give examples of two groups about which there is doubt. One, as Senator McDowell mentioned, consists of people covered by the legislation we passed last year, the Prote...More Button

That is the point.More Button

That is clear.More Button

That is clear and on the record.More Button

I move amendment No. 4: In page 9, subsection (4)(b)(ii), lines 15 and 16, to delete: “the last day of service prior to” This amendment deals with starting times when the Bill comes into operation. On...More Button

Under section 2(3)(b) a person is entitled to resume his or her office or position, or another office or position, within the public service. This refers to returnees in certain situations. It covers ...More Button

It is good to have that on the record.More Button

That is not a full answer. I have to refer to the section. There is no other way of dealing with it.More Button

It is germane.More Button

People can only come back into the public service if they are entitled to resume their office or position or another office or position. There is no entitlement to resume if somebody leaves. It has no...More Button

I do not understand how any group would be disadvantaged.More Button

I utterly reject that. Last night I had in my hand an offer which a person working in a financial institution received. The offer was a retirement of 33 sixtieths at 50 years of age. I will fight to t...More Button

I move amendment No. 5: In page 9, subsection (4), between lines 20 and 21, to insert the following: “or (d) a person who immediately before 1 April 2004 was enrolled in a recognised course of trainin...More Button

I missed that point.More Button

On a point of order, I tabled an amendment to which in his response, the Minister of State justified why recruit gardaí were dealt with in a certain way. He went to great lengths to explain their cont...More Button

Neither of us was ruled out of order.More Button

We are talking about an exception and I ask, therefore, that another exception be made. The relationship between different categories has to be a fair reference point. Will the Minister of State indic...More Button

I am sorry. I will not accept the ruling.More Button

I want to make this clear. This will not go away. We will go through debates for the past 17 years where it will be seen to be perfectly in order to make appropriate references and connections with di...More Button

Excuse me, a Chathaoirligh. If my point were out of order then the amendment would have been ruled out of order. The aim of the amendment is to create an exception and, in terms of argument, it is nec...More Button

I have to make this point clear. On a point of order, and with due respect to the office of Chair, I ask the Chair to respect my position.More Button

I use the same approach to connecting arguments, as is normal parliamentary procedure in this House, the other House and any other parliament I have seen. I am clear on what can be ruled in or out of ...More Button

I am not finished speaking on it. I have not spoken on it for the past ten minutes.More Button

I was about to make the case for it.More Button

Yes.More Button

Why did the Acting Chairman ask if I was pressing the amendment if there is another speaker?More Button

The position is that we have to take this through as we see it. When students are making decisions about their future at leaving certificate stage, as Senator Ormonde said, they might change their min...More Button

That is the point I was making. I was looking at the precise terminology. The colleges of education are there for the single purpose of producing teachers. When I was in college there was a requiremen...More Button

Amendment put.
Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2004: Committee Stage (Resumed).

I move amendment No. 6: In page 9, between lines 42 and 43, to insert the following new subsection: “(6) Where before 1 April 2004 a person had been employed in the public service for a period of not ...More Button

What would be wrong with that arrangement? My proposal supports Government policy, yet all I hear from the Department of Finance is talk of a chasm. It is not a chasm. A chasm brings it down to some k...More Button

Let us hope that we are not driven by self-interest. Let us look at the people who are disadvantaged by it.More Button

Section 2(6)(a) refers to the “same contract of employment”. What exactly does the word “same” mean here? Does it mean similar?More Button

Does this apply to part-time workers who work for a certain number of months each year? When they come back into employment after being away for a year they are employed under the same terms of contra...More Button

I know what the Minister of State is saying. It is much more complex than that. We are talking about a contract whereby somebody takes up employment in the Passport Office for example, for three month...More Button

This is a flaw in the Bill. I have no objection to this but I am trying to establish how it might relate to other factors.More Button

The Minister of State is well down the chasm and he is swaying in the breeze on this aspect. This is a good idea but I assume the Minister of State recognises that it will have wider application, that...More Button

Exactly.More Button

I accept that and have no argument with it. I know what the Minister of State has in mind but I want to know what it means. I am clear that it has a much wider application than he has just outlined. I...More Button

Where are the details in writing about an established custom or practice?More Button

The Minister is in the chasm. Is this a flaw in the Bill or a very good part of it?More Button

Absolutely.More Button

As the Minister said, we do not mention rights here, as we do not want to get stuck in the chasm between rights, duties and responsibilities. However, people will return.More Button

I apologise for cutting across the Senator’s point. If people who were in the Passport Office for three months during the peak period last summer were to return this year, would they not be considered...More Button

If the Senator were in the Chair, he would rule himself out of order.More Button

The Minister has not given a clear answer on certain matters. Let us once again use the example of the staff employed seasonally in the Passport Office. Despite what was said by Senator Walsh, I have ...More Button

Are they currently under contract if they are not in the office at the moment?More Button

I have no problem whatever with that.More Button

I understand all that.More Button

All those things are quite in order; that is not the issue. The Minister said not five minutes ago that a person re-entering the public service would not have the same contract. This prompted me to as...More Button

I do not believe what the Minister is saying. He is making it up as he goes along. It makes no sense at all. I do not think he is deliberately deceiving, simply trying to make the best of it. However,...More Button

I hope nobody is listening to this.More Button

We have established there is a chasm on this and we cannot take it any further. We are left with the words “under the same contract of employment” so we will have to go to another place, which is not ...More Button

I support the Senator’s point. These are the issues which show the weaknesses in the recommendations of the Commission on Public Service Pensions. It refused to take a creative approach to creating a ...More Button

He could try it with decentralisation and tell people who go to Roscrea that they can work until they are 70 years old.More Button

With regard to people working in the fire service there is reference in the recommendations of the Public Service Pensions Commission to a specified fire brigade employee who is a new entrant. This re...More Button

To facilitate the House I am happy for amendments Nos. 9 and 10 to be discussed together. They are two sides of the same coin and it will perhaps lead to a wider debate.More Button

I move amendment No. 9: In page 12, between lines 31 and 32, to insert the following new subsection: “(6) Subject to subsection (7) when a teacher is a new entrant, no superannuation benefits shall be...More Button

On a point of information, I remind the House that the Minister of State’s great grandfather was INTO branch secretary in north Clare and stood firmly against difficult Governments and management at t...More Button

The Minister of State has a great and admirable facility for soaring off into issues that are barely relevant. His response, notably his little history lesson, was interesting but an example of an old...More Button

At least the Minister of State has the sense not to wing it. The report does not contain anything about politicians because the commission was not allowed to deal with them. Although it offered no vie...More Button

I am pursuing a similar line to that taken by the Minister of State regarding teachers and the role of the commission and consultation. Now that we have established that the commission did not address...More Button

Amendment put.
Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

I move amendment No. 10: In page 12, between lines 31 and 32, to insert the following new subsection: “(6) Subject to subsection (7) when a member of the Oireachtas is a new entrant, no superannuation...More Button

Amendment put.
Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2004: Report and Final Stages.

I regret the passing of this Bill. The debate has been important. I thank the Minister of State and his officials for their full and committed engagement with the arguments as we proceeded. It is cruc...More Button

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