Thursday, 30 July 2020
Civil Law and Criminal Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages
The Minister ran out of time earlier, whether deliberately or not, before addressing the most important parts of the Bill. She admitted that she was not going to listen to anyone here and was going to force through all sections of the Bill.
I support this amendment because the insertion of a sunset clause is vital especially when it is dubious how the sections that deal with hearsay evidence appeared in this Bill. The Minister is saying that these suggestions came from the Judiciary and officials in the Department of Justice and Equality but I do not believe that. Vulture funds have been in this country for more than ten years. They were welcomed by the former Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, in the time after the economic crash. They have been getting preferential treatment. I have been in the courts on countless days and justice unheard is justice denied. One cannot hear what is going on with barristers and judges who are whispering. Unfortunate defendants are shaking their feet and being told to stand up and speak up. What has gone on in the courts should be a cause of shame.
This legislation is giving the vulture funds licence to do what they like and carry on. It has been happening throughout the pandemic and to include these sections in this Bill is shocking.
I have heard Fianna Fáil backbenchers speaking against these provisions. The Government is all over the shop. If this Dáil session lasted another week or two, the Government would collapse before we went on our holidays. This is scandalous legislation. It is subterfuge, trickery and blackguarding at its best to get the way of the vulture funds. Those funds and the banks have the Government in hock to them. Is it a kind of homage the Government pays to them or to its European masters or whatever? It is despicable legislation and has no sunset clause. There is a sunset clause in every other legislative measure we have passed in response to Covid-19. Each Bill has a definite end point, although we can extend it. There is no such clause for this Bill because the Government wants to save the banks, bankers and vulture funds. There is no other reason for it. They have stuck these sections into the Bill to have it passed in the final few hours of the final Dáil session before we go on summer holidays. It is nothing but an outrage and the members of the Government should hang their heads in shame.