Seanad debates

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

Road Traffic Bill 2006: Committee Stage (Resumed).

 

1:00 pm

Rory Kiely (Fianna Fail)
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Amendments Nos. 59 and 60 are related and may be discussed together by agreement of the House.

Photo of Paddy BurkePaddy Burke (Fine Gael)
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I thought we had discussed amendments Nos. 59 and 60 already.

Rory Kiely (Fianna Fail)
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No. They are related and may be discussed together.

Photo of Paddy BurkePaddy Burke (Fine Gael)
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I move amendment No. 59:

In page 11, line 39, to delete "two-thirds" and substitute "three-quarters".

I would like to hear the Minister of State's thoughts on this issue.

Photo of Pat GallagherPat Gallagher (Minister of State, Department of Transport; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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There is a link between this amendment and the previous amendments. Proposed amendment No. 59 in the name of Senator Paddy Burke represents a fundamental change to the current provision for an applicant to apply for the removal of a disqualification. The Bill has made it more difficult to get a driving licence back after disqualification by ensuring that such disqualification is at least equal to two thirds of the period of disqualification rather than half, which it has been in the past.

The Senator proposes this period to be increased to three quarters. Considering the approach in this Bill is reasoned and balanced, increasing disqualification to three quarters of the period of disqualification could be seen to be unreasonable. Subsection (3) allows the court to take into account the character of the applicant and his or her conduct after the conviction, as well as the nature of the offence.

The court may decide not to return the licence. There is no obligation on the court to do so, be it after 50%, 66.66% or 75% of the prescribed time. The Bill addresses the principle of the proposal of a counsel at work. The only difference between us is a question of whether two thirds or 75% is appropriate. In the past the portion was 50%. Two thirds is a reasonable balance and a compromise. Regarding amendment No. 60, I consider that 14 days is a sufficient period to contact the Garda.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments Nos. 60 and 61 not moved.

Section 7, as amended, agreed to.

SECTION 8.

Amendments Nos. 62 to 65, inclusive, not moved.

Question proposed: "That section 8 stand part of the Bill."

Derek McDowell (Labour)
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Will the Minister of State provide information on recognition of foreign licences. Does the Cathaoirleach wish to defer the discussion?

Rory Kiely (Fianna Fail)
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As it is 1.30 p.m. we must conclude the discussion. Senator McDowell will have possession on section 8 when we resume the debate.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.

Sitting suspended at 1.30 p.m. and resumed at 2.30 p.m.