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Dublin: 7 °C Sunday 21 December, 2014

Dáil passes Social Welfare Bill which implements Budget 2014 cuts

The bill now goes to the Seanad the week after next.

Updated 21.53

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The result of the final electronic vote on the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill before a walk-through vote was called and the bill was passed.

THE DÁIL HAS passed all stages of the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill this afternoon.

The bill brings into law many of the measures outlined in the Budget last week from next year and will now go to the Seanad for debate the week after next.

The bill, which was passed by 74 votes to 46 on a walk-through vote, enshrines cuts to the invalidity pension, maternity benefit, and the total abolition of the bereavement grant.

After the electronic vote, Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh argued that the bill is contrary to the Programme for Government and should therefore require a walk-through vote which the government won.

Other measures contained in the bill include the abolition of mortgage interest supplement for new entrants from the beginning of next year, with existing recipients of the payment phased out over four years.

There was also a walk-through vote for the specific section of the bill that dealt with the cut to jobseekers’ allowance for under-26s, following a request by the independent TD Stephen Donnelly.

The chamber was empty for much of the day, only filling up for votes.

TDs from the opposition side of the house regularly complained about the lack of time being given to debate the bill and its various sections.

The legislation was debated yesterday and for over six hours today with all opposition amendments to the bill opposed by the government.

Of the TDs expelled from Fine Gael and Labour only Lucinda Creighton, Terence Flanagan, Brian Walsh and Billy Timmins voted for the bill overall, effectively supporting the government’s Budget.

Creighton and others abstained on a number of individual votes including one to cut maternity benefit.

The Dáil has now gone into recess until 5 November.

- First published 16.50

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Earlier: ‘Mean, ruthless, vicious’: TD scathing as Dáil votes to abolish bereavement grant

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