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Children and Family Relationships (Amendment) Bill 2018

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Children and Family Relationships (Amendment) Bill 2018\Second Stage
Bills\Children and Family Relationships (Amendment) Bill 2018\Second Stage

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Children and Family Relationships (Amendment) Bill 2018

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Snippet Contents:

The general scheme is published on my Department website. The Joint Committee on Health review of the general scheme as part of the pre-legislative scrutiny process is still ongoing.
In my discussions with LGBT+ groups in recent days and weeks there has been an eagerness to contribute to the process of pre-legislative scrutiny on the general scheme. I hope that the joint committee can facilitate as much work as quickly as possible in that regard. We would certainly welcome the input of those groups in the report of the committee on the pre-legislative scrutiny as we continue the development of the Bill.
It is important to emphasise that this amending Bill does not change any of the substantive provisions or policy intention of Parts 2 and 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act. We are fixing typographical errors to give effect to the provisions and policy intention debated and passed by these Houses. As I stated from the outset, the sole purpose of this Bill is to remedy a number of technical drafting issues with the original Act. This will facilitate the subsequent commencement of Parts 2 and 3 of the Act.
I will go through the Bill to outline the content of each section. Section 1 provides that the definition of the principal Act to be amended is the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015.
Section 2 amends section 4(a)(ii) of the principal Act relating to the definition of "donor" by the substitution of "section 26(5)" for "section 26(6)". Section 26(5) of the Act of 2015 refers to gametes that are subject to a transition period of three years, during which those acquired on an anonymous basis prior to the commencement of Parts 2 and 3 of the Act may be used in a donor-assisted human reproduction procedure in the State subject to certain conditions. In the Act of 2015 as enacted, section 4(a)(ii) relating to the definition of "donor" refers to section 26(6) rather than section 26(5). This amendment simply resolves the matter.
Section 3 amends section 14 of the principal Act to provide for the Minister for Health to make regulations under that section.
Section 4 amends section 16 of the principal Act to provide for the Minister for Health to make regulations under that section.
Section 5 sets out the citation and commencement provisions for the Children and Family Relationships (Amendment) Bill 2018.
The technology of assisted human reproduction has created a new reality. Irish law must adapt to reflect these changes. The Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 brought much needed clarity in this area. Further delays to commencement of Parts 2 and 3 of the Act will impact the rights of the most vulnerable individuals in a donor-assisted human reproduction procedure - the children. That is why we are all so eager to rectify this area. It will enable us to commence these provisions in the autumn and have declarations of parentage established. That will allow the families affected to be recognised as we all intended when we voted for issues like marriage equality and passed legislation to give effect to the new reality of a more inclusive and tolerant Ireland.
There is far more work to be done on other important issues, including issues relating to surrogacy. I hope the Oireachtas seriously gets on with that business. Certainly, I will be committed in that regard in the autumn session and beyond with this assisted human reproduction legislation. Again, I refer people to the general scheme on my Department's website and the pre-legislative scrutiny currently under way in the Joint Committee on Health.
I commend the Bill to the House. I hope we can speedily resolve the technical issues that the Bill seeks to address and facilitate the commencement of Parts 2 and 3. I have no doubt we all agree these provisions are eagerly awaited and long overdue. I thank Members of all parties and groupings for their co-operation in the speedy introduction of this stand-alone Bill.