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Government Chief Whip Joe McHugh sets out Legislative Programme for Autumn/Winter 2018

Government Chief Whip Joe McHugh has unveiled the legislative programme for the coming months with Bills being drafted to allow for the creation of the €8billion Rainy Day Fund, stricter laws on repossessions and enhanced cooperation on legacy inquests in the north.

The Cabinet approved 39 new Bills to be placed on a Priority List for publication.

Mr McHugh said:

The months ahead will be dominated not just by the Budget, Brexit, the Presidential election and An Taoiseach’s offer to the leader of the Opposition to negotiate an extension to the Confidence & Supply agreement but also a referendum on blasphemy, implementation of the people’s decision to remove the 8th amendment and legislation for the termination of pregnancy, efforts to tackle terrorist financing, the issue of alcohol in our society and home building finance.

These are just some of the Bills this minority Government is working to get ready and hopes to progress before the end of 2018.

The Chief Whip held discussions over two days last week in Government Buildings with Attorney General Seamus Woulfe and senior officials in the AG’s office and Government departments to establish priorities for publication of legislation during the 2018 Autumn/Winter Dáil term.

Mr McHugh said:

The reality is that we are a minority Government and we require the support of other members of the Dáil in order to progress legislation.

The record of this Government is testament to its ability to achieve consensus and to get the job done. Since coming to power in June 2016 some 81 Acts have been passed, including seven which started off life as Private Members’ Bills.

There are 30 Bills currently before the Oireachtas and I am confident that with the right approach during this Dáil term that we can make serious progress on passing some of these pieces of legislation and helping to make a real difference to people’s lives.

It is our intention to prioritise a number of pieces of legislation in this Dáil term. Among those are the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, Home Building Finance Ireland Bill, Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Amendments Bill and Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill.

The Budget will dominate a large proportion of Government and Dáil time in the coming weeks and months, including a number of Bills to pass before the end of the year.

Alongside that work, Minister Donohoe will be bringing forward the National Surplus (Reserve Fund for Exceptional Contingencies) Bill, which has become known as the Rainy Day Fund, to provide for Government reserves to ultimately build to be worth around €8billion in the medium term.

Work will also be done on the Courts and Land Conveyancing (Amendment) Bill, which began life as Minister of State Kevin Boxer Moran’s Keeping People in their Homes Bill.

There will be new equality legislation with the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill to force companies to report pay differences among staff.

And work will be done on legislation to allow for 13 MEPs to be elected to the European Parliament under the Electoral Amendment (European Parliament Constituencies) Bill.

The Criminal Justice (International Cooperation) Bill will introduce a significant and important reform for relatives of victims of the Troubles as it will allow for enhanced cross border cooperation and taking of evidence to support legacy related inquests in the North.
And the Microbeads Bill will progress to ban the manufacture, sale, supply and import and export of products that contain plastic microbeads. 

The Chief Whip, who is also Minister of State for the Irish language, Gaeltacht and the Islands, also said he was pleased to have the Official Languages (Amendment) Bill given priority with the intention that it would be published before the end of the year.

Minister McHugh said:

The Officials Languages (Amendment) Bill, among many other reforms, includes provisions to increase recruitment of Irish speaking civil servants across all Government departments.

Legislative Programme September-December 2018

  • · Priority Legislation for Publication this autumn – 39 
  • · Bills expected to undergo Pre-Legislative Scrutiny (PLS) this session - 40
  • · All Other Legislation – 61
  • · Bills currently on the Dáil and Seanad Order Paper - 30
  • · Bills enacted since the Government came to office on 6th May 2016 – 81
  • · Bills published since the Government came to office on 6th May 2016 – 89
  • · There were 253 Private Members’ Bills in the system at the end of the last Dáil term - 150 at Second Stage and 55 at Committee.
  • Download the legislative Programme here.