Order of Business, 11 December 2012

I will save my comments on the budget for next week, but I am very concerned about the cumulative cuts. We cannot just consider this year’s budget but must also consider previous budgets and how they affect children and families directly. Our group has tabled a motion for debate tomorrow on the value of youth work. Youth work organisations are being affected by the cuts and I hope we will have our colleagues’ support in that debate.

This morning the Supreme Court has handed down its full judgment, which was unanimous, in its ruling that the Government acted wrongfully by spending €1.1 million on its information campaign in the recent referendum. I call for this House to have a debate on how we hold referendums to ensure we have a fair and balanced debate.

While I know I am beginning to sound like a broken record, last week’s budget announced €546 million for the new child and family support agency. The task force report was published in July. Nobody in this House could say what the remit and scope of the new child and family support agency entail, yet we have allocated a budget of €546 million. We urgently need a debate. We cannot wait for the legislation to be placed before us and then fine-tune the legislation. If the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is not available, I have suggested to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges three individuals of high calibre who could come before this House and discuss the new agency with us. I do not understand the reason for the delay.

I repeat the call I made during the debate on Senator Quinn’s excellent Bill on employment permits. We should have a debate on forced labour in Ireland.

I asked that the Minister for Justice and Equality publish the International Labour Organisation’s report on criminalising forced labour in Ireland. This report needs to be published, we need to criminalise this and there needs to be urgency on this issue. I repeat my call for that debate.