TITHE AN OIREACHTAIS
An Comhchoiste um Ghnóthaí Sóisialacha agus Teaghlaigh
TUARASCÁIL BHLIANTÚIL 2005
CLÁR OIBRE 2006
Meán Fómhair 2006
HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS
Joint Committee on Social and Family Affairs
ANNUAL REPORT 2005
WORK PROGRAMME 2006
Annual Report 2005 and Work Programme 2006
Table of Contents
1. Content and Format of Report
This report has been prepared pursuant to Standing Order 84 (3), (4), (5) and (6) (Dáil Éireann) and Standing Order 69 (3), (4), (5) and (6) (Seanad Éireann) which provide for the Joint Committee to-
•undertake a review of its procedure and its role generally
•prepare an annual work programme
•lay minutes of its proceedings before both Houses
•make an annual report to both Houses
At its meeting on 21 September 2006, the Joint Committee agreed that all these items should be included in this annual report.
2. Functions and Powers
The Dáil Select Committee was established by Order of Dáil Éireann of 16 October 2002 to consider Bills, Estimates for Public Services and the terms of any international agreement involving a charge on public funds which come within the aegis of the Department of Social and Family Affairs.
The Dáil Select Committee under the same Order was enjoined with a Select Committee of Seanad Éireann, established by Order of Seanad Éireann of 17 October 2002, to form the Joint Committee on Social and Family Affairs. Among the principal functions of the Joint Committee are to consider —
•public affairs administered by the Department of Social and Family Affairs
•matters of policy for which the Minister for Social and Family Affairs is responsible
•legislative and expenditure proposals of the Department
•scrutiny of EU legislative proposals
•certain matters relating to bodies under the aegis of the Department
The Orders of Reference of the Dáil Select Committee and the Joint Committee are set out at Appendix 1.
3. Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Convenors and Membership
Deputy Willie Penrose was elected as Chairman of the Joint Committee on 12 November 2002. Deputy Donal Moynihan was elected as Vice-Chairman of the Joint Committee on the same day . The Chairman of the Joint Committee is also Chairman of the Dáil Select Committee.
Deputies John Carty and Michael Ring are the Convenors of the Committee whose function it is to ensure the availability and attendance of Members or their substitutes for meetings of the Committee and, in particular, to ensure Members’ availability for divisions.
The Members of the Joint Committee are set out at Appendix 2.
4. Meetings, Attendance and Recording
Meetings of the Joint Committee, Select Committee and sub-Committee(s) took place in the Committee rooms in Leinster House 2000. Meetings were in public unless otherwise ordered by the Committee.
Televised coverage of public meetings of the Committee were broadcast live within the Leinster House complex and was available for subsequent public broadcasting by RTE and TV3.
An Official Report (Parliamentary Debates) of the public meetings of the Committees is published and may be purchased from the Government Publications Sales Office, Sun Alliance House, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2. The Official Reports may also be viewed on the Houses of the Oireachtas website at www.irlgov.ie/oireachtas.
Copies of other reports published by the Joint Committee may be obtained from the Clerk, Joint Committee on Social and Family Affairs, Kildare House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. A list of these reports is set out at paragraph 9.
5. Number and Duration of Meetings
The Joint Committee met on 14 occasions in the year under report. The number of hours discussion involved in these meetings was in excess of 21 hours. The date and subject matter of each meeting is set out in paragraph 7 below and at Appendix 3.
The Dáil Select Committee met on 6 occasions in the year under report and the number of hours discussion involved in these meetings was in excess of 8 hours. The date and subject matter of each meeting is set out in paragraph 7 below and at Appendix 4.
Minutes of proceedings of the Joint Committee meetings in public session are attached at Appendix 5.
6. Work of the Committee
6.1 Joint Committee
The Joint Committee met on 14 occasions; among the matters dealt with were the following :
•Annual Report 2004 and Work Programme 2005
•Administration of Unemployment Benefit, Unemployment Assistance and Disability Benefit Schemes
•Scrutiny of EU Legislative Proposals
•Child Poverty in Ireland
•Fair Trade Tea and Coffee products stocked by certain Offices and Departments of State and Bodies under their aegis.
•Analysis of Budget 2005 by the Society of St Vincent De Paul
•The work of the Family Support Agency
•Family Care Strategy in Ireland
•Care and Welfare Regimes in certain other EU member States
•Key priorities of the Budget 2006 from the perspective of the Combat Poverty Agency and the National Women’s Council of Ireland
•The Department of Social and Family Affairs’ policy regarding overpayments / clawbacks in respect of the estates of deceased pensioners
•Telephone Allowanace Scheme
A copy of the Joint Committee’s work programme for 2006 is at Appendix 6.
6.2 Dáil Select Committee
On the 6 occasions the Dáil Select Committee met, it dealt with the following matters:
•Social Welfare and Pensions Bill, 2005
•Motion on Social Security between Ireland and the United Kingdom.
•Motion on Social Security between Ireland and Australia.
•Revised Estimate for 2005, Vote 38 — Social and Family Affairs.
7. Groups and Individuals attending before Committee
In the year under report, the Joint Committee met with the following organisations, groups and individuals:
•Officals of the Department of Social and Family Affairs
•End Child Poverty Coalition
•Mullingar Fairtrade Steering Group
•Society of St Vincent de Paul
•Family Support Agency
•The Carers Association
•Members of the Hong Kong Legislative Council
•Combat Poverty Agency
•The National Women’s Council of Ireland
•The Pensions Board
•Office of the Pensions Ombudsman
•The Irish Association of Pension Funds
•The Department of Finance
•The National Disability Authority of Ireland
8. 8.1 Joint Committee Reports
During the year under report, the Joint Committee published the following reports:
•Annual Report 2004 and Work Programme 2005
•Motion Report on a Social Security Agreement between Ireland and the United Kingdom
•Motion Report on a Social Security Agreement between Ireland and Australia
•EU Scrutiny Report No 3 on an Amended proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71
8.2 Work in Progress
•Work Programme 2006.
The Joint Committee travelled in the year under report as follows.
•The Second General Assembly of the Inter — Parliamentarians for Social Services in Seoul, South Korea from 22 to 27 August
•Visit to Copenhagen, from 22 to 25 November
10. Functions and Powers
The Joint Committee is currently satisfied with its present procedures and role.
William Penrose, T.D.
21 September 2006.