Monday, 14 June 2021
Counterfeiting Bill 2020: Second Stage
I am not sure I would call it a coup. I am just looking around the Chamber and seeing colleagues I knew in UCD but also a councillor in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council - Senators Ward, Boyhan and Conway, who was in UCD with me. Ireland feels that bit smaller today than it ever did. It is my first opportunity to congratulate Deputy Browne on his appointment as Minister of State with responsibility for law reform. I have been appointed as Fianna Fáil spokesperson on law in the Seanad so that might be why I managed to achieve this small coup, as the Leas-Chathaoirleach called it. I will certainly not repeat all of the very informative speech given by the Minister of State detailing all 33 sections.
Much of what we are implementing now is there in practice, if not in law. Hopefully, in future, we can bring the euro to the countries we used to be able to use it in such as Spain, Portugal and France when we get travelling again. In the past year, probably more than ever, we have used fewer coins and notes than we ever did. Electronic money, tap and go, chip and pin and all the other technologies probably mean that we will use less hard cash than we ever did. Nevertheless, it is very important legislation. A Fianna Fáil Minister is bringing it through the House and along with the rest of the Government, the Fianna Fáil group is supporting it. Much of it is in place. It is very important that we do it and we have those security measures in place across the eurozone to deal with anyone who is caught for or involved in the counterfeiting of euro notes or coins, which we know was big business with lots of criminal gangs and organised crime outfits involved in the forging of notes and coins. It is probably less prevalent because standards are getting higher and higher. I welcome this Bill and I will not delay the House on it. I thank my colleagues, particularly Senator Gallagher, for deferring to me on this occasion.