Thursday, 19 March 2020
Gnó na Dála - Business of Dáil
We are resuming very briefly. Given the complexity and the importance of the legislation before us and the absolute commitment of all of us to get it right, the Minister has a proposal to put to us.
I heard earlier from many Members of the House that they wanted to see what is commonly referred to as a sunset clause in respect of the emergency powers. I indicated on the record of the House a willingness to do that. We obviously just want to make sure it is done correctly. There are quite a few amendments down, all endeavouring, from my interpretation, to achieve the same effect, that the emergency health powers would have a time limit and if the time limit were to be extended it would require the consent of these Houses. We need to do that right. There are a number of amendments we believe would have unintended consequences in terms of where they are placed in the Bill, including a number that we believe would interfere with the social welfare provisions, which nobody wishes to do. My officials are working with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel and the likes to propose a ministerial amendment that I would present to the House. To do so, a Cheann Comhairle, we are seeking a little more time.
The proposal is that we would adjourn until 7 o'clock, when the various pieces of work that have to be done, not just by the Department but also by our own Bills Office, would be completed and the groupings would be complete. We would be able to come back and deal with the legislation at that stage. Are Members amenable to suspending?
It would just be useful, because it looks like that is the amendment the Minister is going to accept, if the Minister would be able to tell us if there is a specific date he has in mind for it. At least when that amendment comes forward, he would have the input of the House so it could be passed if that was agreeable to the House.