Seanad debates

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Criminal Justice (Enforcement Powers) (Covid-19) Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages

 

10:30 am

Photo of Martin ConwayMartin Conway (Fine Gael)

Well done to him for being brave enough to do it.

More important and appropriate, I congratulate the Minister of State, Deputy James Browne, on his appointment. I was delighted that he picked Lahinch in County Clare for his holidays this year. I hope he enjoyed himself and that hospitality was extended to him as we would hope.

It is a pity that Senator Bacik feels it necessary to press her amendment to a vote.The consensus in the Chamber is striking. The powers that will be vested in An Garda Síochána are appropriate. We are living in difficult, challenging and strange times during which we must protect the majority. We must give powers to An Garda Síochána sometimes in order that it can protect the majority against the small minority who choose not to take this situation seriously.

The problem with this pandemic is that the virus is contagious and very dangerous. Unfortunately, a much higher percentage of those who contract Covid-19 than we would wish experience difficult and challenging symptoms. The after-effects, of which we are only now becoming aware, are very serious.

In order to protect the majority, sometimes we must have challenging and difficult legislation and question ourselves. The debate on the Bill has been very positive in that regard but I believe we need to show consensus in this House and support this legislation in its totality. I listened very carefully to Senator Bacik, who is, to be fair, very supportive of the Bill. I genuinely believe that her concerns are not well-founded. We need to send a clear message from this House that we are in unison with regard to vesting these powers in An Garda Síochána in order to protect the majority from a very small minority.

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