Thursday, 30 July 2020
Civil Law and Criminal Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2020: Second Stage
The Minister has heard from many Members on this issue. I plead with her to listen to Deputies who have expressed their concerns about sections 13 and 14, what is becoming known as the vulture fund section of this Bill. People have been fighting these vulture funds in the courts. They thought they had won some sort of security but this will rip that from them. I spoke to somebody today who had a horrific experience with the vulture fundss and fought them tooth and nail. They lied and lied again and we are handing those funds a golden ticket to take people's homes, lands and businesses. We have a chance tonight to listen to those people and to listen to the Deputies who spoke tonight and to take that section of the Bill out and ensure that people are protected.
I refer to section 5(29), which relates to remote meetings that will allow Ministers to designate certain State bodies to hold meetings. I was contacted today by a couple of councillors and their concerns related to remote meetings of local authorities and, most importantly, making decisions remotely. They are concerned about how that will affect them. I was a local councillor myself. Some instances they gave included the local property tax, the county development plan, budgets and other serious matters they make decisions on. They were concerned that if a decision was tight, their Internet connection went down and a vote happened, what then would happen their vote? What recourse would they have? They are really concerned about some of those issues. I am asking for clarification. Is it the case that local authorities are included in that section? If so, could we insert a sunset clause, perhaps for six months or whatever? That would mean we could come back and look at this and see how it is implemented because there are concerns that there will be chief executives of local authorities who would love this legislation to come through, if that is the case.