Seanad debates

Tuesday, 9 July 2024

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

1:00 pm

Photo of Vincent P MartinVincent P Martin (Green Party)

I too offer my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the late John O’Mahony, the wider GAA community and the family of Fine Gael, which lost a wonderful public representative who served in both Houses with distinction. I would also like to closely associate myself with the Cathaoirleach’s kind, thoughtful and very appropriate remarks when he paid tribute to John.

I also welcome Councillor Heavey from my home county, who was recently re-elected.I wish him and, indeed, all who were elected in the UK recently well. There is a big responsibility and burden on their shoulders. It is more than a cliché to say that this is a golden opportunity for a reset in Anglo-Irish relations.

My primary business today is to seek an amendment to the proposed Order of Business as outlined by the Leader of the House. At the appropriate time, I propose that No. 15 be taken before No. 1 and I will be seeking the leave of this House to introduce my Bill.

My Bill, entitled the Bail (Amendment) Bill 2024, proposes to amend the Schedule to the Bail Act 1997 so as to include in that Schedule a reference to the offence of coercive control under section 39 of the Domestic Violence Act 2018. In summary, a person who is currently charged with committing an offence under the said section can, in appropriate cases, be prosecuted on indictment. Despite an accused person having been charged on indictment, this is distinct from a summary non-jury trial prosecution in the District Court where bail can only be refused in relatively limited circumstances. This is because the offence is not listed on the Bail Act Schedule. This is notwithstanding that under section 39(3)(b) of the Domestic Violence Act 2018, a person who commits the offence of coercive control is liable on conviction on indictment to a term of five years' imprisonment.

The current bail law in respect of the offence of coercive control provides for a lighter and more relaxed bail regime. My Bill proposes to add it to the Schedule to the Bail Act and if enacted into law, this would change the admissibility objections made in a court bail application hearing and thus provide for the possibility of preventive detention being made permissible on the grounds of fear of further serious offending.

I conclude by thanking my fellow Senators for co-signing this cross-party legislative initiative and I look forward, subject to it being granted leave today, to a good debate on the Bill on Second Stage in this House.

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