Friday, 16 October 2020
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Michael McDowell (Independent)
First, I put on record that the leader of my group, Senator Boyhan, received the Order of Business for today at 10.19 a.m. It is not good enough that we should receive the proposed Order of Business so late in the day, with effectively 11 minutes to go before the Chamber assembled.
Second, I propose an amendment to the Order of Business, as proposed by the Leader, to provide that the words "and Remaining Stages" in respect of the Commission of Investigation (Mother and Baby Homes and certain related Matters) Records, and another Matter, Bill 2020 would be deleted from the Order of Business. In other words, I am proposing that only Committee Stage should proceed today. I understand that Senator Boyhan will second the amendment.
Third, the House has been told that the urgency of this matter arises from the fact that the commission will stand dissolved on 30 October and therefore arrangements in respect of its documentation would have to be made while it is still in existence. As I understand it, the situation is that the commission is now in a position to deliver its final report.The commission has a separate report based on the evidence it received from people who appeared before the confidential committee. The commission is anxious to deliver its final report by 30 October but it will need time. It cannot conclude its business before 30 October and will need an extension, partly because staff have been forced by the circumstances of the Covid emergency to work from home. There is a lot of administrative work in respect of the records of the commission that needs to be completed and will not be completed by 30 October. Therefore, it follows that the supposed urgency in respect of passing this legislation is unfounded because the commission needs and wants extra time. It should be given that extra time. Its final report will be out by 30 October, as I understand it and, depending on what this House does in respect of it, the confidential report will follow very quickly. However, the administrative work associated with dealing with all the records and preparing them to meet whatever legal requirements exist will take further time. We need extra time. The commission needs extra time. It is bogus to suggest that there is a hurry or an emergency requiring the passage of this legislation. I ask the Leader, therefore, to accept the amendment I am proposing and to proceed today only with Committee Stage.