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
Pa Daly (Kerry, Sinn Fein)
We live in a country where there was a misuse of sectional guidelines with regard to mental health facilities and children's homes down through the years. There is a potential lack of proportionality in what is proposed. All I can do is highlight my experience in regard to the drug trafficking legislation. As a young solicitor in the courts in the Bridewell the first client I met was not a drug baron. Rather, it was a young single mother who was living in a hostel who was going to be detained for seven days. Many said that would not happen. We have a duty to get this right now so as to prevent a deluge of applications challenging unconstitutional detentions in the High Court. I think we should stick to the original date in May of this year and not November and so on. While I welcome that there is a sunset clause, it allows the Minister to extend the provisions which would then require the Houses of the Oireachtas to annul it within 21 days. It seems to me that this is a poor sunset clause. It does not provide for proper parliamentary oversight and it is open to constitutional difficulties. There are other examples of sunset clauses in other legislation that we should examine.