Saturday 25 November 2017

Opposition motions 'just a waste of time': FG TD

Fine Gael's John Deasy. Photo: Tom Burke
Fine Gael's John Deasy. Photo: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A Fine Gael TD has described Dáil motions such as the one lost by the Government this week as "not worth the paper on which they are written".

The minority Government is reeling after losing a vote less than a month after taking office - but there are no indications it will act on the Labour Party's motion seeking to strengthen workers' rights.

It called for a programme of incremental increases to the National Minimum Wage "until it is pegged at 60pc of median earnings" and for a Living Wage of €11.50 per hour to be adopted throughout the public sector.

It also sought a legislative package that would end the abuse of so-called 'if and when' work contracts, bogus self- employment and provide redress for victims of workplace bullying.

The Irish Independent sent a series of questions to the Department of Jobs querying what action it intends to take over the motion but no reply was received at the time of going to print.

However, sources in the Labour Party said they now plan ned to draw up their own legislation in line with the motion and get it onto the Dáil agenda.

This could result in a further embarrassment for the Government unless it engages with Brendan Howlin's party.

Fianna Fáil, which abstains on key votes for the Government, backed Labour during last night's vote.

It is understood to be the first time since 1989 that a sitting government lost a Dáil vote but as the fallout continued, Fine Gael TD John Deasy said the debate was pointless.

He interrupted Dáil business yesterday to complain about "the futility of voting on such motions". He said that while the Labour Party had succeeded in getting it through the House, it was "not worth the paper on which they are written. There is no point in voting on them," he said.

Other party sources expressed concerned that Opposition parties could conspire to continually embarrass the Government during Private Members time.

Labour's Jan O'Sullivan said her party's motion showed it was "really important that, as the number of jobs grows, there are properly paid jobs and people are treated properly".

She said the Government needed to focus casual and part-time workers "so that people have the opportunity to have full-time jobs where they are available for full-time jobs".

"There are many casual jobs now in the economy and we need to ensure we continue to make progress in that area as well," she said.

During a debate on employment, Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor said the Programme for Government had set "ambitious" targets.

"We want to reduce the unemployment rate to 6pc and our target this year is to add 50,000 new jobs. We have made a good start, with more than 15,000 new jobs being created in the first three months of 2016."

Irish Independent

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