Dáil debates

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Statute Law Revision Bill 2015: Report and Final Stages


No amendments have been tabled on Report Stage.

Bill reported without amendment and received for final consideration.

Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass".

10:50 am

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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I thank Deputies for their consideration and for their considered views expressed during this debate. As legislators and custodians of the Statute Book, we should see our obligations as extending beyond the creation of new legislation to also include the review and removal of that which is no longer necessary. I was pleased to see so many speakers from all sides of the House during the Second Stage and Committee Stage debates recognising the importance of this process and the work of the statute law revision programme. This Bill will revoke all Government orders or secondary instruments made prior to 1821, apart from a specific list of 43 instruments being preserved. In total the Bill expressly revokes 5,782 secondary instruments and implicitly repeals thousands of others, making it the largest ever repealing measure by express repeals in this or any other jurisdiction. The Bill is part of a broader series of measures which have been enacted since the establishment of the statute law revision programme 13 years ago. This Bill is clearly not the end of the process but constitutes a further milestone in the creation of a modern and accessible Statute Book and paves the way for further legislative clarity measures including the assessment of more recent legislation. I assure the House that the statute law revision programme will be continuing its work, both on later instruments and also on reviewing Acts passed since independence in 1922. I hope to be in a position to bring further proposals to the House in due course once that work is further advanced. I wish to pay tribute to all of the people who have been working in the Department on the statute law revision programme over a sustained number of years and thank them for their work.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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I have had a particular interest in this process which a Fianna Fáil-led government began 13 years so. Quite a considerable amount of work has already been done in this area but it is very tedious. I hope this Government will keep up the momentum to eliminate all pre-independence legislation from our Statute Book so that we are totally governed by laws brought in since independence. I agree with the Minister of State that there is also a need to constantly update laws introduced since then. Time and again we have found in this House that provisions set out in legislation are outdated and in need of replacement. There were some absolutely extraordinary laws in place in this country. There was one such law that I had a particular fetish about but I am not sure if it has been fully repealed, that is, the one requiring the wearing of wigs in courts, which is totally anachronistic in a republic. The sooner "my Lords" and "my Ladies" down in the Four Courts realise that this belongs to another era, that we are now in a republic and get rid of all of the paraphernalia of 18th and 19th century imperialism, the better. They should dress in a way that is appropriate in the twenty first century. I am glad that the Supreme Court gave the lead and did away with wigs. I hope that on my next visit - which I hope will not be any time soon - to the Four Courts, I will not see anybody wearing a 19th century-style wig. I would ask the Minister of State to ensure that this provision is finally taken off the Statute Book.

Question put and agreed to.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Bernard Durkan):

The Bill will now be sent to Seanad Éireann.