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Dáil Speech on Civil Registration (Misc) Bill 2013 – Thursday 30th May

I too welcome the Bill. Given that speaking time is short, I will focus on a couple of specific points. Section 15 amends the Civil Registration Act 2004. The Minister has promised on a number of occasions to introduce legislation to deal with an issue that is not covered in the section. I understand that the heads of the Bill may already have been prepared.

We are in the midst of the holiday season and people die while overseas. I and my colleague, Deputy Tom Hayes, have raised this matter on a number of occasions and Deputy Kyne has drafted a Private Members’ Bill in respect of it. I am of the view that we have missed an opportunity in the context of dealing with this matter in the legislation before the House. We could have amended the Civil Registration Act to allow for details of the deaths of Irish citizens which occur overseas as a result of accidents, etc. to be recorded in this country.

I agree with Deputy Donohoe that the figures which have been produced are excellent. This is an issue about which we should be talking much more, particularly in the context of the positive aspects relating to it. The matter I want to refer to and which is not dealt with in the Bill relates to those who are self-employed. The statistics released earlier today show a 4.3% increase in the number of people who are self-employed. We all support the concept of entrepreneurs starting up their own businesses. However, there is no safety net for these people if their businesses fail. In America, people whose business fail are encouraged to start again, but in this country there is no safety net. Therefore, young entrepreneurs whose businesses fail cannot rely on the social welfare system for support. A number of countries throughout Europe have opt-in systems whereby people can make additional PRSI contributions so that if their businesses fail, they can obtain some form of social welfare payment. There is a need for such a system or safety net in this country. I am aware the Minister is awaiting a report on this matter. I hope that when she receives it, she will be in a position to act as quickly as possible in order that there will be a safety net for self-employed people. In the coming five to ten years, it is these individuals who will be creating jobs for the next generation of school leavers.

I hope the Minister will consider the points I have raised. I welcome the Bill and I also welcome the figures that were published this morning. Those figures prove that the various job innovation schemes that have been put in place are guiding people back towards work. The latter will definitely put our economy on the right track in the years ahead.

ENDS