Wednesday, 6th March 2013
Last December I tabled an amendment to this Bill at a time when the House was debating the Social Welfare Bill. At that time I was particularly downhearted about the role of the Seanad Members as legislators. I was all the more encouraged when the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, said that he would take the amendment and look to bring it back within the Finance Bill later in the year. It is not every day that I have an opportunity to thank the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, and his officials, for bringing forward the amendment to exempt properties used by a charity for recreational activities. He cites in particular the guides and scouts. Youth work organisations have faced cumulative cuts of up to 30% already and they expect to face more cuts. Any relief, even smaller relief, is more than welcome. I realise that organisations will need to apply for the exemption in order to avail of it. I wish to put on the record of the House that the Irish Girl Guides, the Catholic Guides of Ireland and Scouting Ireland, have asked me to thank the Minister for this exemption which will, I have no doubt, be used by other charitable and youth organisations throughout the country. I thank the Minister most warmly for granting this exemption.