Brennan, Seamus

Tuesday, 8 March 2005

Seanad Eireann Debate
Vol. 179 No. 14

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Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2005: Committee Stage.

I thank the Senators for their contributions. They will appreciate that the technicalities involved, the procedures with which the House must comply and the wording of the amendment are such that it i...More Button

I would like to see that letter.More Button

We have rules and cut-off points, but at the same time we have to be sensible. The clearest evidence that the transition to work is having an effect is the falling unemployment figures. People are com...More Button

As Senators are aware, this debate has been going on for some time. I appreciate that the amendment before the House has been tabled for pro forma reasons to allow us to discuss the issue. I would hav...More Button

This is a difficult area. Any payment made to somebody who is unemployed — one has to be unemployed to get the rent allowance — could be called a disincentive. One could incentivise anyone fairly quic...More Button

I thank the Senator for proposing the amendment. She will be aware that I asked the Department to carry out an examination of the current arrangements of the assessment of capital, particularly as the...More Button

I will keep the matter under review. The increase from approximately €13,000 to €20,000 is the largest ever single move in this area and should deal with the situation.More Button

I have made considerable changes in this area. Some 16 amendments were introduced last year. In the case of five or six amendments, depending on how one considers them, we have reverted to the previou...More Button

I thank the Senators. Child poverty is of great concern to me and to all of us. Different figures arise. There is a famous figure of 66,000 children in poverty in Ireland. The figure varies depending ...More Button

I thank the Senator. I will try to get the report from the National Economic and Social Council as soon as possible and will bring proposals to the Cabinet and, if necessary, before the Oireachtas.More Button

We discussed this at length on Committee Stage in the Dáil. This issue concerns prosecutions, a very important part of my Department’s efforts to control fraud and abuse in social welfare schemes. Pro...More Button

I assure Senator Terry that I have been very impressed by the way the Department has dealt with cases of overpayment. Staff have made it clear to me that the person concerned is consulted directly or ...More Button

Senator Terry’s amendment calls for a statutory restatement to be published within three months. The Pensions Board provides a legislation service by paying a fee, under which subscribers receive a no...More Button

Pensions are complex but it is critical to have them. It is incumbent on all of us to try to strip away the complexity and get to the heart of the matter. Pensions are about the income of ordinary peo...More Button

I wish to return to what Senator O’Meara asked about PRSAs. I agree that the take-up has been disappointing. It now stands at 46,000 — that is the number of individual contracts. For that reason, I ha...More Button

I argue that a large proportion of that €2.5 billion is given in tax breaks to individuals against their wages and salaries so they can take out pensions. It is, therefore, given in tax relief to indi...More Button

I argue that the individual is benefiting, since he or she is not taking out a pension. By forgoing tax, the State is helping that individual pay the premium to build up a pension. Therefore, the indi...More Button

The figure is so large that one must be very wary of a broad-brush approach. A very substantial proportion of it is going to ordinary working people to help them build up pensions for the future. I do...More Button

Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2005: Report and Final Stages.

I thank Senator Terry for moving this amendment again. While I do not have any difficulty with the concepts in these amendments I am seeking a fair balance between the consumer and the provider and a ...More Button

On a point of information, in the case of PRSAs, IFSRA insists on advertising carrying the kind of warning the Senator is seeking. Therefore, what the Senator wants to achieve with regard to PRSAs is ...More Button

I presume that members of all occupational schemes are made fully aware of the conditions of the schemes and are fully informed of their contents.More Button

Yes.More Button

I thank Senators for raising this issue, which needs to be considered. It involves many complicated aspects. The Pensions Board has advised me that it does not support the immediate introduction of a ...More Button

They were not wound up.More Button

They did not meet the funding standard, which was very conservative.More Button

The Senator asks me to reverse an amendment which I put forward and dealt with on Committee Stage in the Dáil. When I spoke in the House on Second Stage, the amendment broadened the regulatory power t...More Button

I can save the Senator a telephone call to the Commission because those calls are expensive nowadays. The directive states: With the exception of Article 19, member states may choose not to apply this...More Button

I thank the Senators for their consideration of the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill. As I stated earlier, I deliberately used the word “pensions” in the legislation’s title for the first time. It wou...More Button

Rural Renewal Schemes.

The rural renewal scheme was introduced in the Finance Act 1998 to address some of the problems facing the upper Shannon area. It was at that stage becoming apparent that this area, with its history o...More Button


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