Deputy Tommy Broughan has asked the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn, to investigate serious allegations of illegal activity in some construction projects funded by the State, allegedly including contracts under the School Building Programme. Yesterday in Dáil Éireann, Deputy Broughan joined in calls for this matter to be addressed by Minister Quinn. He said “this is potentially a very serious loss of revenue to the State and it must be fully and adequately investigated without delay”.
I am sharing my time with Deputy Róisín Shortall. I am thankful to have the opportunity to speak about the Bill. Like many Deputies and the Minister, I have received many letters and e-mails specifically on the implications of section 34 on the Irish aviation (general employees) superannuation scheme. Delegations have also approached me about the issue. There is grave concern and anxiety among many of my constituents about the effects of this section, particularly on the deferred members of the superannuation scheme.
Deputy Tommy Broughan has raised concern that funding difficulties at St. Michael’s House are affecting the provision of some services to people with disabilities. He was speaking in response to a recent report he received from the Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People, Kathleen Lynch.
Deputy Tommy Broughan wishes to acknowledge the excellent work by members of An Garda Síochána and the staff of Irish Rail in ensuring that that no serious incidents of anti-social behaviour occurred from any small element of the crowds travelling to seaside resorts in North Dublin over the past number of days.
Deputy Tommy Broughan has expressed his support for an inter-agency response involving An Garda Síochána, Dublin City Council, the Litter Prevention Office and other agencies to the ‘Cash for Cars’ signs which have been prevalent across Dublin in recent months.
Deputy Tommy Broughan has said the proposed targets outlined by the Minister for Housing, Jan O’Sullivan, on new social housing units to be delivered this year are not achievable and the government is still refusing to address the very severe housing crisis. Deputy Broughan has repeatedly called upon the government to address the huge shortage in adequate social housing provision by investing in a capital investment programme. However, he has been exasperated by the response by the government, particularly Minister O’Sullivan, to one of the most fundamental challenges to Irish society at present. Deputy Broughan has been particularly critical of the government’s failed policy of relying on the private sector to provide social housing.
Deputy Tommy Broughan has warmly welcomed the decision by the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, to correct anomalies in the local property tax (LPT) legislation concerning reliefs for people with significant disabilities who live in adapted homes. Deputy Broughan had raised the specific issue with Minister Noonan after some constituents living in adapted homes affected by the anomalies had raised their serious concerns that they were required to pay the LPT but others in similar situations were exempt from the tax.
Deputy Tommy Broughan has supported a positive update from the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, in regard to the Darndale Park Renewal Project. The Moatview Fairfield Development Association (MFDA) is developing proposals at present to enhance and improve Darndale Park, Darndale, Dublin 17. As part of these proposals, the MFDA are seeking support from the Department of Social Protection to provide 15 Community Employment (CE) positions for people from the local community to work on the enhancement and improvement works.
I am pleased to get an opportunity to speak on the Reform of Judicial Appointments Procedures Bill 2013 today. I congratulate Deputy Mac Lochlainn for the great work he has done in this area and for bringing these very important proposals before us to finally democratise our Judiciary because it is fair to say that the public is deeply and profoundly unhappy with the political nature of the appointment of judges, the perceived selection of judges from a tiny elite of Irish society and what appears when one looks at court records to be one law for the wealthy and another for the poor. It appears that some people who, having committed what most constituents would consider to be very major crimes, walk away virtually scot-free while others receive very lengthy sentences for stealing a bicycle or a coat, so there is grave disquiet.
I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to this debate. I warmly commend Deputy Eamonn Maloney’s initiative in bringing forward this much-needed Bill. It is typical of Deputy Maloney’s original and thoughtful contributions to this House.