Friday, 27 March 2020
An Bille um Bearta Éigeandála ar mhaithe le Leas an Phobail (Covid-19) 2020: Céim an Choiste agus na Céimeanna a bheidh Fágtha - Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages
I do not disagree at all with that principle. In respect of amendments Nos. 34 to 36, inclusive, this issue was addressed quite extensively in the Dáil last night. The Office of the Attorney General advises that remote-electronic consultation is implicitly included in the Mental Health Act 2001 and the amendments proposed in this Bill.Accordingly, the Attorney General's office advised against including explicit reference to remote or electronic means, as outlined in the amendments, as it may mean that those are excluded from the existing Act when the legislation reverts to the existing measures under section 1(3) of the Bill.
In terms of amendments Nos. 35 and 36, the form of report can be dealt with operationally by the commission and does not need to be set out in legislation. I received advice as Senator Devine was speaking to the effect that amendment No. 34 may cause more problems than it solves. According to the Attorney General, it is not necessary to implicitly use the words "remote consultation" in the legislation as it is already understood and it may have a knock-on negative consequence in terms of the primary legislation when this emergency is over. The recommendation is not to accept the amendments but the spirit of them is understood and I do not think there is a problem.