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Chief Whip outlines steady progress on legislative programme as Brexit planning intensifies

Government Chief Whip and Minister of State, Seán Kyne TD, has today (Friday) confirmed that the Government is on course to have enacted up to 44 bills before the end of 2018, a figure which compares with 41 in 2017 and with a yearly average of 45 bills over the last decade. The Chief Whip also signalled the impact that Brexit will have on the legislative programme in 2019, with work already underway on the legislation needed for Brexit and, in particular, the event of a ‘No Deal’ scenario.

Flagship Bills enacted during 2018 include:

  • The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill, which will allow for termination services to be provided here from January
  • The Education (Admissions to Schools) Act, which introduces much awaited reforms to the schools admissions process and prevents schools from discriminating on the basis of religion 
  • The Domestic Violence Act, which provides better protection for victims
  • The Childcare Support Act, which establishes the affordable children scheme to help reduce the cost of childcare 
  • The Public Health (Alcohol) Act, which aims to reduce the societal harm caused by alcohol

Speaking today Minister Kyne said:
“We’ve passed more pieces of legislation this year than last, which is a considerable achievement for the minority Government. Whether it is legislation to make childcare more affordable or to strengthen protections for victims of domestic violence, these new laws will have a very real and positive impact on people’s lives.

“The arithmetic of the 32nd Dáil means this parliament operates differently to those in the past. Opposition TDs and Government backbenchers have a greater opportunity to raise issues and pursue legislation thanks to the increased time allowed for Private Members Business.

“In recent weeks the Dáil has accepted proposals to streamline the processing and passage of Private Members Bills, which are often affected by the impact they will have on the State’s finances. This I hope will further enhance Dáil debates. In the 32nd Dáil we have a parliament that is, in my view, considerably strengthened, one in which members of all parties and none introduce legislation and see it through to enactment.

“By its very nature, the 32nd Dail is inclusive and more participatory. This is extraordinarily important as Brexit approaches. In recent weeks I have requested that each Minister bring forward their Brexit-related legislative priorities, as well as urgent legislation that would need to be enacted in the first quarter of 2019.

“Work has already commenced on our Spring Legislative Programme, which will reflect our intensified preparations for Brexit and on which the more co-operative and consensus-building style of the 32nd Dail will greatly rely.”