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National Issues

Why were key protections for workers on Defined Benefit Schemes dropped from Social Welfare Bill?

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Today’s Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Bill is more noteworthy for its omissions rather than its provisions, according to Róisín Shortall TD. Deputy Shortall said: “T.D.s were given the clear understanding in early drafts of the Bill in May that it would deal with some of the enormous insecurity affecting defined benefit schemes. As we have seen from the sudden changes to the Irish News and Media pension scheme, Read More

Money for nothing while housing supply still in dire straits

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The fact that investors are currently paying the Irish State to lend it money highlights just how ridiculous our economic management has become, Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall said today. The party’s co-leader was commenting on reports that Ireland raised €750m on the bond markets this morning, selling five-year bonds at a negative interest rate for the first time. The National Treasury Management Agency today borrowed money at a negative Read More

Critical HSE audit shows deeply flawed public-private healthcare model

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A critical HSE audit into financial practices at the National Maternity Hospital highlights everything that is wrong with our public-private healthcare model, according to Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall. Deputy Shortall was commenting on a HSE audit which found that the publicly-funded National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street subsidised the cash flow of a semi-private clinic in its complex for a significant period of time. The report found that top-up Read More

Government’s economic priorities fail to tackle key pressures in society and economy

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Today’s Summer Economic Statement is another squandered opportunity by the government to deal with the enormous pressures facing our economy and society, the Social Democrats said today. The party’s co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said the setting up of a Rainy Day Fund at a time when the housing, health and childcare needs of so many people are going unmet shows that the government’s priorities are all wrong. Deputy Shortall said: Read More

Financial burden on parents of education costs must be lifted

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The high costs of sending children to school need to be lifted so that parents are not being forced into debt to cover basics, the Social Democrats said today. Party co-leader Róisín Shortall TD was commenting on new research that shows that the average cost of primary school education is €766 a year. The Cost of Education in Ireland survey by Zurich Life shows that primary school education is 80% Read More

Social Democrats introduce Bills to strike out obsolete and offensive blasphemy offence

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The Social Democrats will this week introduce draft legislation to remove the obsolete offence of blasphemy from the Constitution and the Statue Book. The party will on Wednesday bring forward two separate Private Members’ Bills to ensure that Ireland’s legal framework enshrines full respect for freedom of speech. The country’s outdated blasphemy laws recently sparked controversy when a complaint was made against British comedian Stephen Fry over comments he made about God Read More

New report highlights great need to improve openness and effectiveness of Irish Civil Service

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A new International Civil Service Effectiveness Index, launched today (see link here), has highlighted several deficiencies in the Irish Civil Service. Comparing the Civil Service of 31 countries, Ireland comes in 6th last.Ireland scored high in Human Resource Management and Tax Administration but low in terms of regulation, risk management, social security administration and openness. Róisín Shortall of the Social Democrats said, “the report should be a wake-up call for the Civil Service Read More

Delays in allocating Special Needs Assistants amounts to shameful treatment of state employees and parents

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Government delays in allocating Special Needs Assistants amount to shameful treatment of State employees and parents alike, Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said today. Deputy Shortall made her remarks after the Taoiseach announced that the cabinet had today approved the allocation of additional Special Needs Assistants for September. Deputy Shortall said: “The Taoiseach said today that more Special Needs Assistants would be allocated for September. But this announcement is Read More

Social Democrats support Living Wage increase – but stress need to reduce living costs

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The Social Democrats support the increase in the Living Wage rate – but stress that there also has to be a focus on reducing the cost of living. Party co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said: “I welcome the increase in the Living Wage for 2017 to €11.70 per hour. The experts who calculate this increase say it reflects changes in the cost of living, and the main driver of this is Read More

Government rebuked for its appalling record in preventing corruption

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The Social Democrats have said the government’s appalling record on tackling corruption has led to it being rebuked today by the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body, GRECO. The party co-leader Róisín Shortall TD was commenting on a GRECO report which found that Ireland’s level of compliance with its recommendations were “globally unsatisfactory”. The anti-corruption body said Ireland had satisfactorily implemented or dealt with only three out of eleven recommendations that Read More