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07/11/2018 12:00:00 AM


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Shortall, Róisín

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Bills

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Children and Family Relationships (Amendment) Bill 2018

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Second Stage

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971

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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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Senator


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Deputy Róisín Shortall

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Deputy Róisín Shortall

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Róisín Shortall

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Snippet Contents:

I wish to share my time with Deputy Eamon Ryan.
I have no difficulty with the Bill. It is a technical Bill to address problems with the 2015 Act. I will certainly be supporting it on that basis. As other Members have said, however, one must ask why, three full years after the passage of the 2015 legislation, it has not been enacted in full. When one considers what has happened in respect of adoption, and now in respect of registration, one must ask why so many mistakes were made. There were mistakes in addition to a delay. How were the mistakes made? Why has it taken three years and a lot of pressure by LGBT Ireland to force this issue?
There are three Departments involved, namely, the Departments of Health, Employment Affairs and Social Protection and Justice and Equality. It seems there was no sense of urgency on the part of any of those Departments with a view to making progress on this issue and ensuring the implementation of the 2015 Act.
I do not have any difficulty with the technical amendments. They deal with a transitional arrangement for those already conceived via an anonymous donor and for gametes from the same donor that are already stored in the event that there is a desire to conceive another child - a related child. We know anonymous donation will be banned once the principal Act is fully commenced. That is fine. The other aspect is to deal with consent forms in regard to the numerous circumstances associated with donation. I refer to consent to use donation, consent to have donor implementation and so on. The two amendments are technical amendments to make improvements in this regard to allow the commencement of Parts 2 and 3.
Over recent weeks, when asking about this, as other Members have done, I concluded it is quite incredible that, as recently as 12 June, the response from the Department of Health was that there were discussions ongoing and that "we do not wish to pre-empt the outcome by citing specific details." It also stated, "Clarification on whether primary legislation is required to resolve these issues is being sought." It is incredible that, up to last month, clarification had not been sought and that the question of whether primary legislation was needed was still being considered. Of course, we do need it and that is why were here tonight. Why were three years allowed to elapse before that was actually established?
An issue also arises regarding Part 9. When I raised this with the Minister for Justice and Equality recently, the reply was really passing the buck. It stated Part 9 could not be commenced until Parts 2 and 3 were dealt with. With regard to Part 9 and registration, it was stated it was a matter for the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. There is extraordinary passing of the buck by various Departments. When I raised the matter with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the response was quite extraordinary. The Minister for Justice and Equality said it is a matter for the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection while the latter stated: