Thursday, 19 March 2020
An Bille Sláinte (Caomhnú agus Cosaint agus Bearta Éigeandála Eile Ar Mhaithe Le Leas an Phobail), 2020: Céim an Choiste agus na Céimeanna a bheidh Fágtha - Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages
Mick Barry (Cork North Central, Solidarity)
I made the point when I spoke earlier that the proposal represents the greatest curtailment of civil liberties seen in the history of the State. We have seen it with the power to force someone to remain in his or her home or area or to block people from leaving a village or town. The point was just raised about preventing parties in people's homes. We should not forget the power to prevent public gatherings. I made the point earlier that I am opposed to the package on this basis. We are discussing amendments so I will make some brief points. Somebody said this was a six-month sunset clause but it is not. It is closer to an eight-month sunset clause. The key date is 9 May. Does a Government, possibly a caretaker Government with a couple of Ministers, have the ability to extend these powers on 9 May by laying a report before the House? Does the House, the Members elected by the people, get a chance to vote on it? It must be the case, given the extreme nature of the measures, that the House would have a vote on these matters by 9 May.