Last night Section 37.1 of the Employment Equality Bill was amended by the passing of the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013. The Bill amends the provisions of Section 37(1) of the Employment Equality Act to remove the discrimination of LGBT employees of religious run institutions. The passing of this Bill by the Oireachtas is another step for equality for LGBT people.
In our 2011 Election Manifesto we promised amend Section 37 of the Employment Equality Acts to end discrimination against LGBT teachers and trainee teachers and we have made good on this promise through the hard work in particular of Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Minister Jan O'Sullivan, Deputies Ciara Conway, John Lyons, Dominc Hannigan and Senator Ivana Bacik.
Today, the Cabinet agreed to proposals by my colleague, Labour TD Willie Penrose, to reduce the bankruptcy period from three years to one, in a bid to further assist those burdened by unsustainable debt.
I’m confident that by the end of the Dáil’s term, they will have become law, thereby delivering on another core Labour objective. This, in turn, will be another example of the balance Labour has brought to this coalition government.
Last night Deputy Joanna Tuffy, Cllr Pamela Kearns and Cllr Mick Duff held a public meeting in the Red Cow Hotel on the Living Wage. The Panel included David Begg, Director of TASC; Susie McGowan of the Justice for Clerys Workers Campaign and Peter Byrne from the South Dublin Chamber of Commerce.
Labour in government has been standing up for families to make sure that every family benefits from the economic recovery. Today the Tánaiste Joan Burton with Deputy Ciara Conway launched a video which is being used in advertising on Facebook and YouTube with the theme "Standing Up for Families'. The video demonstrates how families are beginning to feel the benefits of the economic recovery through a simple slice-of-life scenario of a couple (Michael and Lorraine) being able to afford to attend a major concert for the first time in a number of years.
This week people claiming social welfare will get their Christmas bonus and this afternoon the Tánaiste Joan Burton and Deputy Joe Costello with some friends launched the Christmas bonus in the newly opened 'I Believe' Christmas village in Dublin City Centre.
The Tánaiste Joan Burton said her focus as Tánaiste and Party Leader is to ensure we can improve things for every person, not just a few and the Christmas bonus will play an important role in that.
Labour Women have this morning launched the Heads of their Repeal the Eighth Amendment Bill. This Bill (which you can read below) has been carefully crafted by Senator Ivana Bacik, members of Labour Women and members of the Pro-Choice movement including previous Supreme Court judge Catherine McGuinness.
This legislation, the Repeal the Eighth Amendment Bill, represents a significant step forward: no other major political party has nailed its colours to the mast on the issue of abortion in this way.
Today the Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan with the Tanaiste Joan Burton, announced a €2.8billion investment into a major schools building programme which will deliver 14 new schools by 2018 as well as major building works for 310 schools. This means by 2021 there will be an additional 62,000 places available in schools all over Ireland.
The findings of the Report carried out by University of Limerick, ‘A Study on the Prevalence of Zero Hours Contracts among Irish Employers and their Impact on Employees’ commissioned by Minister Ged Nash, was published today.
Labour's Ministers and TDs around the country have had a very busy week this week. Over the Bank Holiday weekend, Minister Kathleen Lynch addressed delegates at the Macra na Feirme Conference in Cork on the topic of mental health amongst young people. An Tánaiste Joan Burton and Brendan Ryan TD visited Little Apples Crèche and Swords Senior Citizens Day Centre to discuss measures introduced in Budget 2016 for children and older people.
An Tánaiste, Joan Burton TD and Minister of State for Equality and Culture Aodhan O’Riordáin, joined Fiach Mac Conghail, Director of the Abbey Theatre to announce details of Waking the Nation, the Abbey’s major initiative as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.
Speaking after a brief preview of the Abbey’s latest show Oedipus An Tánaiste Joan Burton spoke about how special the Abbey was to her after first attending the theatre when she was aged 11.
“The importance of the arts and culture goes far beyond their monetary value - they define our character as a nation," the Tánaiste Joan Burton said.
"They display the dynamism of Ireland to the entire world, encouraging creativity and innovation in a range of fields. They also ensure we remember.