Friday, 20 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
Alice Mary Higgins (Independent)
I move amendment No. 2:
In page 4, after line 33, to insert the following: “(6) Every regulation made under this Act shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if a resolution annulling the regulation is passed by either such House within the next subsequent 21 days on which that House has sat after the regulation is laid before it, the regulation shall be annulled accordingly, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.”.
I welcome the sunset clause which was put in place in the legislation. It gives me some comfort. This amendment seeks to address a somewhat similar issue. In the Bill as it stands either House of the Oireachtas has a right to make a resolution annulling an extension order within 21 days but there is no equivalent right for either House to pass a resolution annulling a regulation over the Bill in general. Therefore, the current right to annul an order relates only to extension orders. It does not relate to, for example, regulations that the Minister might make under a different part of the Bill. I understand and take some comfort from the fact that there is at least a sunset clause, that we know that these regulations will be in place for a limited period and that they will fall in November. The Dáil will at least have an opportunity - I would like if it were both Houses, but so be it - to send a signal at that point and to determine whether or not we continue. I am just pointing out that there is an anomaly in the Bill. I would like to know the plans for reviewing regulations made under the Bill. This might not be the Bill as a whole; it might be a particular section under which particular regulations are made.What is the mechanism whereby we can ensure that if they are not working correctly and if they are having unintended consequences, we are feeding back the message that they may need to be reviewed or revoked? We are making a lot of decisions in a short timeframe and we need to have a quick response.