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Dáil returns for new year with wages on the agenda

A controversial bill on agency workers is on the table today – but one TD has warned his peers to keep things in perspective…

Image: Wikimedia Commons

DID YOU THINK the new year started ten days ago? You must not be one of our elected representatives – they’re back in Leinster House today for the first Dáil session of 2012.

Wages are at the top of the agenda, with a bill giving all agency workers the same pay and employment rights as  permanent staff.

The Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Bill 2011, which will be debated in its second stage by TDs this afternoon, has already raised fierce opposition from employers’ groups. Ibec accused unions of vetoing discussions on the issue.

Also on the agenda are the first Leader’s Questions of the new year, in which Enda Kenny is likely to come under fire from Opposition over the pensions tax debacle and the latest arrival of troika officials to check up on Ireland’s progress.

It looks like some TDs at least are looking forward to returning to the cut and thrust of Dáil debates. Labour’s Colm Keaveney tweeted this morning:

Health minister James Reilly will also be putting his head over the parapet this morning, taking scheduled questions on people who may be forced to abandon their private health insurance, and the wages of senior HSE staff.

Finally this evening, TDs will debate a private member’s bill from Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis, calling for the reversal of Budget cuts reducing the number of teachers in disadvantaged schools. There will also be various committee hearings, and the Seanad returns today as well.

But independent TD Denis Naughten has warned his fellow deputies to keep things in perspective, tweeting last night:

More: Revenue chairwoman to face TDs’ questioning on pensions debacle>

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Michael Freeman

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