This week I spoke three times in Dáil Eireann. On Wednesday I asked the Government to urgently reform the 1942/2004 banking legislation to address the Tracker Mortgage Scandal. At Leaders Questions on Thursday I raised the issue of serious anti-social behavior in parts of Dublin Bay North and the urgent need to resource community policing teams. Later on Thursday I demanded an urgent resolution of impending strike action at Irish Rail for communities, workers and Iarnrod Eireann in a Topical Issues Debate with Shane Ross.
It is astonishing that we again face a national transport strike during the Minister’s tenure. We went through this previously with Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann. Eventually, a settlement was reached. The very hard-working staff with their five trade unions – Unite, SIPTU, the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union, TEEU, and the National Bus and Rail Union, NBRU, took a very mature and responsible line at the Workplace Relations Commission, WRC. They seemed to be inching towards a settlement of around 2.5%, which is a little bit over the general public service rise which has already been agreed. Suddenly, there was a debacle and it was stopped. Many people think this was stopped on the Minister’s orders because he was not prepared to give the normal pay rise in the public sector to workers in this area.
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: I have raised the issue of serious public disorder and anti-social and criminal behaviour in districts of Dublin Bay North with the Minister for Justice and Equality several times since June. I was responding to great distress of constituents who sent me photographs and video recordings of cars being burnt out in broad daylight. I was told of appalling anti-social and criminal behaviour as up to five and six vehicles were recklessly driven around estates and then set on fire in nightly episodes often lasting until 6 a.m. This outrageous behaviour is incredibly dangerous, as homes were effectively blockaded by abandoned and burning vehicles and the lives of families and local children were put at risk.
During Leaders’ Questions today, Deputy Broughan took the opportunity to raise the recent renewed wave of anti-social behaviour and criminal activity in parts of Dublin Bay North. Deputy Broughan has raised this important issue of serious public disorder and anti-social/criminal behaviours in districts of Dublin Bay North with the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, several times since June yet problems persist. Deputy Broughan told the Dáil today that he has been sent photos and videos of cars being burnt out in broad daylight by distressed constituents. Constituents have reported appalling anti-social and criminal behaviour where up to five and six vehicles were recklessly driven around estates and then set on fire in nightly episodes often lasting up to 6am. Homes were effectively blockaded by abandoned and burning vehicles and the lives of families and local children were placed daily and nightly in jeopardy.
This morning Deputy Healy noted the litany of appalling behaviour by key banks and building societies, including the DIRT scandal, the outrageous insurance and unit trust linked mortgage scandal which many people have now forgotten, the full rescue of AIB by the taxpayer in the 1980s and after 2008 the blanket guarantee of the main Irish banks and building societies after years of totally reckless and greedy behaviour by senior bankers up to September 2008. In recent years we have been grappling with the tracker mortgage scandal and the terrible suffering inflicted on citizens and their families who were deprived of funds of between €500 million and €1 billion in this latest appalling scam.
Please note, due to the October Bank Holiday weekend, my weekly information clinics will not be taking place on Saturday the 28th of October or Monday the 30th of October 2017.
My weekly information clinics will resume on Saturday, 4th of November 2017. For further details of the times and locations of these clinics, please see the Contact section of this website.
Deputy Broughan received replies to Parliamentary Questions today regarding young adults in receipt of Jobseeker’s payments for more than 12 months and also on the number of 18 – 24 year olds signing on at Dublin Intreo offices. At the end of September, there were 10,548 under 26’s in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance for more than 12 months and 6,799 under 25’s are signing on at Intreo Offices around Dublin. 413 of these are in Coolock and 283 are in Kilbarrack which are both Intreo Offices in Deputy Broughan’s constituency of Dublin Bay North. The PQ reply stated that “It should be noted that the Live Register is not a definitive measure of unemployment as it includes part-time workers, and seasonal and casual workers entitled to Jobseeker’s Benefit or Allowance.”
It is incredibly and totally farcical that Fianna Fáil has brought this motion before the House just a mere ten days after it signed off on budget 2018 with its coalition partners, Fine Gael. Where were Fianna Fáil’s concerns when negotiations were ongoing or, indeed, in the run-up to the 2017 budget? Where was Fianna Fáil then? We on this side of the House cannot help but wonder if this was an agreed publicity stunt between the two conservative parties that are running the country and hoping to swap partners and continue to run it after the general election. The Minister for Finance called the situation “bonkers” on air and then Fianna Fáil came to the rescue with a motion that will surely pass in the Dáil. Of course, Fianna Fáil also supported all of the economic decisions of the last austerity Government.
This evening, Deputy Broughan has blasted Fianna Fáil for bringing forward a motion on ‘Correcting Pension Inequities’ just 10days since they signed off on Budget 2018 with their coalition partners Fine Gael. Where was Fianna Fáil’s concern when negotiations were ongoing for Budget 2018? One can’t help but wonder if this was an agreed publicity stunt between the two right wing parties prior to Budget Day last week – let the Finance Minister call the situation ‘bonkers’ on air and then Fianna Fáil can swoop in to the rescue with a motion that will surely pass in the Dáil. It is, of course, the second such budget that Fianna Fáil has facilitated in the 32nd Dáil and yet neither have addressed the PRSI contribution band changes introduced in Budget 2012.
Last Wednesday, my colleague, Deputy Daly, hosted a briefing by members of the Aer Lingus supplementary pension scheme, known as the second scheme, to discuss the serious issues that have emerged relating to the wind-up of the scheme. I attended the briefing. I understand that up to 2,500 workers and pensioners are entitled to a share of the €106 million pension fund, known as Pot B or the Second Scheme, that is currently being wound up.
Members of the scheme raised concerns when they began receiving letters detailing their allocations. They soon realised that there did not appear to be any rhyme or reason to the method of distribution of funds. The distribution had been decided without consultation by the trustees, Irish Pensions Trust.