This Week In The Seanad

Schedule of Business
Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th April 2015


14:30 Commencement Debates
15:30 Order of Business
16:45- Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2015- Second Stage
[Department of Social Protection]
Spokesperson Senator Hildegarde Naughton

18.45 – Private Members Business
[Taoiseachs Nominees]

Private Members Business
That Seanad Eireann
– notes that 1 in 4 families with children in Ireland is a one-parent family, that over half a million people live in one-parent families (Census 2011) and that over 30% of the Irish population experienced two or more types of enforced deprivation, compared to 63.2% of those in lone parent households (SILC 2013);

– further notes that Budget 2012 restricted eligibility for the OFP to those parenting alone whose youngest child is aged seven, and initiated phased reductions of income disregards for lone parents to equal those of job seekers allowances, albeit we welcome the Government decision in November 2014 to halt the final 30 euro cut;

– acknowledges the Tanaiste’s decision to establish the job seeker’s transition allowance scheme for lone parents with children aged 7 – 14;

– regrets that accessible, affordable, quality childcare to accompany policy changes have not been delivered, though acknowledges the 14m investment in after-school care;
– notes with concern that almost 40,000 lone parents are expected to transition from OFP with 30,200 transitioning on 2nd July 2015 (just as school holidays cause childcare costs to increase), and how this change will impact negatively on thousands of working lone parents who will be financially worse off;
– welcomes Tanaiste Joan Burton’s recent announcements that people in receipt of OFP will maintain eligibility for the half-rate Carer’s Allowance and that she commits to resolving anomalies for those taking up Job Seeker’s Transition and accessing SUSI maintenance supports;
Calls on the Tanaiste and Minister for Social Protection to:
– Acknowledge that changes in labour market policies regarding lone parents are resulting in unintended consequences, such as lone parents giving up work or full-time education, and agree to immediately review recent policy changes in light of this;
– Resolve with immediate effect all remaining administrative and policy anomalies concerning the roll out of job seekers transition including access to carers allowance, back to education allowance and self-employed or enterprise supports and to ensure no working lone parents with children over 14 are financially worse off after being moved to job seeker’s allowance;

– Honour previous commitments and implement a ‘system of safe, affordable and accessible childcare’ to accompany the changes to OFP;

– Engage in a comprehensive review of the policy decision to compel lone parents to work full time and to examine whether this policy is consistent with a child’s right to parenting and consistent with equality of family status.

[Senator Katherine Zappone, Senator Jillian van Turnhout, Mary Ann O’Brien, Fiach Mac Conghail]

10:30 – Commencement Debates
11:30 – Order of Business
12:45 – Valuation (Amendment) Bill 2012- Report Stage, Amendments from Dáil Éireann [Department of Finance]
Spokesperson Senator Michael D’Arcy

13:30- Roads Bill 2014- Second Stage
[Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport]
Spokesperson Senator Pat O’Neill


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