The Social Welfare and Pensions (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013 was before Dáil Éireann this week. Deputy Tommy Broughan engaged in debate on the Bill and although he supported some of the Bill’s provisions, he was critical of the government’s approach to the social welfare system and the devastating effects of continued cutbacks on citizens dependent on social welfare payments. He therefore voted against the Bill.
This week in Dáil Éireann, Deputy Tommy Broughan pressed Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Jan O’Sullivan, to immediately address the chronic shortage of social housing provision in the Dublin Bay North constituency.
The Minister, Deputy Burton, may be in attendance in a few weeks’ time when Neil Young and Crazy House will entertain us at the RDS. Given the deplorable impact of cutbacks and the great tightening of qualification criteria for social assistance, benefits and pensions since March 2011, I hope the Minister will be able to happily sing along if Neil Young breaks into “Are You Ready for the Country (because it’s time to go)”, because the impact of the three budgets since early 2011 has been severe on different and significant cohorts of our most vulnerable citizens, many of whom of course are counting down the days until they have an opportunity to vote in a general election.
If the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government could report to Dáil Éireann on his plans in 2013 and over the next two years to address the huge shortage of social housing provision in the Dublin North Central area of Dublin City Council and the Howth/Malahide area of Fingal County Council.
Deputy Tommy Broughan has expressed his disappointment at the news that funding for housing adaptation grants for people with disabilities and the Mobility Aids Scheme has been drastically cut and this has severely restricted the availability of the scheme to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
Deputy Tommy Broughan recently asked Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to report on the operation of the National Car Test (NCT) system. In particular, he asked the Minister to report on the current waiting time for a motorist whose car is being tested at each of the testing centres.
I welcome the opportunity to speak on this important legislation, which has been a long time in gestation. Since 2002, we have been dealing with the negative consequences of the disastrous manner in which the taxi sector was deregulated. When I was the Labour Party transport spokesman in a previous Dáil, the ongoing problems in the sector arose time and again, and taxi workers are still raising issues of concern with me.