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Civil Debt Procedures Bill could cost jobs – Tóibín

3 July, 2015

Speaking in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin Jobs Spokesperson Peadar Tóibín TD warned that the Civil Debt Procedures Bill if passed will have a detrimental effect on workplace relations and the administrative burden being put onto small business already on the edge could cost jobs. 

 The Meath West TD said:

 “Ireland has experienced first-hand the disintegration of the social democratic values hard won by the peoples of Europe, but what is contained within the Civil Debt Procedures Bill is a new and disgraceful low. It is a form of collective punishment against all citizens for daring to oppose the water charges.

“Fine Gael and Labour are becoming a boot boy government, using the law to enforce draconian authoritarian measures that are so deeply divisive and unfair that it is breath-taking.

“Employers, like landlords, are now to become the states debt collectors and payees of their employees’ unpaid fines. Labour and Fine Gael tell us day and daily that job creation is the government’s number one priority; well the Civil Debt Bill has well and truly put paid to that myth.

 “This piece of legislation is an attack on employees and employers alike. 

“Outside of the public sector, nearly 70% of those working are employed by SMEs, and the majority of these are small and micro business. Every one of these companies is now to become debt collectors for utility and other multinational companies.

 “Setting aside the excessive administrative burden Government is now heaping onto employers; imagine the impact of this measure on the employee/employer relationship. This is a deeply intrusive and acrimonious action taken by government that will colour employment relationships to a detrimental degree.

“Not happy with punishing those who are unable to pay their water charges, the government has now extended their misery to struggling families who cannot pay their ESB, gas bill, telephone costs or their TV licence.

 “Economic and income inequality in Ireland has deepened since 2011. It is under this governments watch that low pay has become entrenched in Ireland’s labour market and family homelessness is now the norm. This is a direct result of the divisive anti-social democratic values that Fine Gael and Labour have pursued in government, and which have only intensified since Joan Burton took over the leadership of the labour party.

 “Let’s not forget there is no rushed legislation to cap interest rates for hard pressed mortgage holders in response to the banks refusal to pass on interest rate reductions to customers, no tough action, just mealy words from Joan Burton who has become Margaret Thatcher on steroids. Be it lone parents or the disabled, Labour has turned its back on social solidarity.

 “The Civil Debt bill sets out the requirement of employers to comply with the court to collect and pay out the debt, and if an employer does not comply they will be liable for a fine.  Employers will also have to engage directly with the Courts and provide pay related documentation.

 “This nasty piece of legislation is a draconian act of collective punishment by a Labour/Fine Gael government intent on unpicking the social democratic values that once upon a time underpinned the policy and politics of the Labour party.” 

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