The Government will today promise it will publish almost 30 new Bills between now and Easter including major legislation in the employment, enterprise and justice areas.
However, it was confirmed by the
chief whip’s office last night that the list will not include a Bill on
abortion – while a Heads of Bill (draft legislation) may materialise
before the Easter break, the Bill is not now expected to be published
until after Easter.
Government chief whip Paul Kehoe will today
announce the list of Bills to be published in this Dáil session. Almost
one-third of the Bills are carry-overs from the session before
Christmas, when 21 of the 31 Bills promised were published.
of the major Bills in the enterprise area will give effect to plans to
rationalise and reduce the number of State agencies.
Others will be
included as part of the Government’s commitments under the bailout
programme agreed with the troika of the European Union, International
Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.
Among the major Bills to
be published will be legislation to rationalise the existing
commissions, authorities and courts that deal with industrial relations
and equality at work into one all-encompassing agency.
Department of Jobs and Enterprise is also expected to publish a Bill
that will effectively abolish all 34 county and enterprise boards and
subsume their functions – including a micro-enterprise aspect – into the
existing structures of State enterprise agencies.
There is also a
major consumer competition Bill, that is in part the result of
interaction between the Government and the troika.
rationalisation announced in November 2011 was the abolition of a number
of agencies in order to establish a Child and Family Support Agency
with wide powers and extensive functions.
In the justice area at
least five new Bills are expected to be published before Easter,
including legislation in relation to DNA and forensic evidence as well
as a Bill dealing with human trafficking.
There is also a Bill in the justice area that will bring clarity to the matter of mental capacity.
of the Bills pencilled for this session – the Child and Family Support
Agency Bill; the Consumer and Competition Bill; the Mental Capacity Bill
and the Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database) Bill –
were among the 10 on the autumn list that were not published before
yesterday’s deadline. All are scheduled to be published early this year.
Bills on the list but not yet published were the Mineral Development
Bill; the Children First Bill; the Further Education and Training
Authority (Solas) Bill; the Non-use of Motor Vehicles Bill; the Consumer
and Competition (Bill); and a Health (Amendment) Bill relating to GP
It is expected the
Bill that will legalise abortion in restricted circumstances will be on
the priority list for the summer session.
Minister for Health
James Reilly has said he expects the legislation to be enacted before
the summer but many of his colleagues in the Dáil and Seanad say that
his timetable is too ambitious.
Chairman of the Oireachtas health
committee Jerry Buttimer is holding a meeting with committee colleagues
this week to finalise arrangements for writing its report on last week’s
hearing from medical and legal experts as well as churches and advocacy
Last autumn’s list of Bills was the biggest the Coalition
had published since coming into power and its two-thirds success rate
was its best to date.