Blog Archive

Fines (Payment and Recovery) Bill 2013: Second Stage

Posted on February 26, 2014

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Senator Ivana Bacik: I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Tom Hayes, to the House. As other speakers have done, I very much welcome the Bill, which fits well in a welcome general trend in criminal justice policy to try to reduce reliance on imprisonment and ensure people are not committed to prison for convictions for minor offences and cases where a fine has been imposed but not paid. Others have already mentioned the large numbers of people still being committed to prison, and there were 8,304 committals to prison for fine default in 2012, including 1,687 female committals. There is real concern because the Irish Penal Reform Trust has indicated that the large number of women committed to prison in 2012 for fine default represented a five-fold increase on the 2008 figure, when 339 women were imprisoned for fine default. As we know, there is serious overcrowding in the Dóchas Centre and we do not have an open prison for women; all convicted women are sent to the closed prisons of the Dóchas centre or the Limerick prison. It is a matter of grave concern that so many women are being committed to prison for non-payment of fines.

Others have pointed out how this builds on the Fines Act 2010, which was introduced by the previous Government. The real concern is that the 2010 legislation, which had the same admirable and welcome objective, never took effect, with significant numbers of people still being committed to prison every year for fine default. The reason for the non-implementation of the Fines Act is that the court ICT systems have not received the necessary upgrade to process payment of fines by instalment. The legislation is very welcome and the new Bill repeals Part 3 of the 2010 Act but replicates and improves it.

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Posted in: Justice

Senator Bacik Asks Leader to Arrange Debate on Right to Housing

Posted on February 26, 2014

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Order of Business

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Posted in: Human RightsJusticeSocial Policy

Senator Bacik speaking on the GSOC controversy, and welcoming the Constitutional Convention result on ESC Rights

Posted on February 25, 2014

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Order of Business

Senator Ivana Bacik: Last week, as Deputy Leader, I dealt with a number of issues around the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, the response of the Government to the GSOC controversy and, on Thursday, the dossier that was provided by Sergeant Maurice McCabe. I said at that point that we should have a debate on policing generally and I would like to renew the call for such a debate. I know they have not yet been confirmed but I would like to welcome the reports today from Cabinet that a barrister-----

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Posted in: JusticeNewsSocial Policy

Free Speech, Homophobia and the role of the State Broadcaster: Motion

Posted on February 18, 2014

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Senator Ivana Bacik: I am honoured to second the motion and follow Senator Zappone's powerful speech proposing it. I welcome the Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, to the House. I am delighted that he is present to respond to our contributions. I also welcome members of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, GLEN, Marriage Equality and others in the Visitors Gallery. In particular, I acknowledge Ms Gilligan, Senator Zappone's wife.

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Posted in: LGBT Rights

Bacik Welcomes Burton's Decision to Stay Away from New York St Patrick's Day Parade

Posted on February 12, 2014

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Speaking yesterday in the Seanad, Senator Ivana Bacik welcomed the announcement by Deputy Labour Party leader and minister, Joan Burton TD, that she will refuse an invitation to the controversial St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City, due to the continued exclusion of openly LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) people from the event.

Minister Burton joins the Mayor of New York, Bill De Blasio, who will also be staying away from the Parade due to its discriminatory policies.

“I fully support Minister Joan Burton in her welcome decision not to participate in an event that sends a message of exclusion and intolerance towards a whole community. The discriminatory stance of the parade organisers is out of keeping with a modern and progressive Irish identity that seeks to embrace diversity. I would urge other Irish ministers and political leaders to follow the principled stand taken by Minister Burton and Mayor De Blasio.

“Unlike the many other community groups allowed to participate, LGBT Irish-Americans are specifically barred from displaying anything that would identify them as being from the LGBT community. I do not believe that this principle should be applied to a group of people whose contribution to Irish-American society broadly deserves to be celebrated openly and proudly, along with the many other diverse groups that make up the modern global Irish community.”

ENDS

Posted in: LGBT Rights

Senator Bacik speaking on GSOC, the Courage of Sharon McCarthy, and Expansion of Franchise for University Seanad Seats

Posted on February 12, 2014

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Order of Business

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Posted in: HealthJusticeSeanad

Senator Bacik asks for Debate on GSOC and Commends Minister Burton's Decision Not to Attend the St Patrick's Day Parade in New York

Posted on February 11, 2014

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Order of Business

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Posted in: EqualityJusticeLGBT Rights

Homelessness Strategy: Motion

Posted on February 05, 2014

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Senator Ivana Bacik: I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy O’Sullivan, to the House. I thank her for coming to deal with the motion on homelessness. I commend my colleague, Senator Aideen Hayden, who drafted and proposed the motion. I commend her on her great work with Threshold on the issue of homelessness and housing policy. Some people from Threshold are in the Visitors Gallery. I acknowledge the presence in the Gallery earlier of Councillor Dermot Lacey, the leader of the Labour Party group of councillors in Dublin City Council. I know he has a particular interest in the topic given that Dublin City Council councillors recently reversed proposed budget cuts to the homelessness budget in Dublin, a welcome move. That was an initiative led and championed by the Labour Party group and I welcome that.

We all acknowledge the immense difficulty of the problem of homelessness. Senator Mooney put it fairly when he spoke of it as an endless problem. Previous Governments in times of economic boom sought, with the best will in the world, to tackle the problem but were unable to eliminate homelessness. This Government has an ambitious policy objective to end long-term homelessness by the end of 2016. I welcome the fact that the Government has remained committed to that even in the face of economic difficulties. The Government homelessness policy statement from last year states that homelessness:

...has proved to be an enduring and difficult problem for many of the people affected, and for society as a whole. Central and local government and the voluntary sector have devoted considerable resources and effort to the issue and real progress has been made.

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Posted in: Social Policy

Standing Orders: Motion

Posted on February 05, 2014

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Standing Orders: Motion

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Posted in: Seanad

Senator Bacik asks for Debate on Community Courts

Posted on February 05, 2014

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Order of Business

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Posted in: JusticeThe Environment

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