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03/11/2021 12:00:00 AM


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Connolly, Catherine

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Bills

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Criminal Procedure Bill 2021

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Report and Final Stages

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Criminal Procedure Bill 2021\Report and Final Stages
Bills\Criminal Procedure Bill 2021\Report and Final Stages

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Criminal Procedure Bill 2021

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Report and Final Stages

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Senator


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Deputy Catherine Connolly

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Deputy Catherine Connolly

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Catherine Connolly

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Snippet Contents:

I do not intend to use my full seven minutes. I support Deputy Pringle's sensible and practical amendment. If we are serious about learning from mistakes and processes, the least we can do is to make a review system fit for purpose. The cursory system in place after one year is not fit for purpose. I know more resources and finance will be involved, but it will be much cheaper in the long term to do something like what has been suggested in this amendment.
What comes to mind in this regard is the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015. Six years later, we are still making people wards of court when the whole purpose of that legislation was to stop that awful process, which goes back to dated legislation. This is particularly important legislation concerning how a trial is run and how a victim is treated. I had mixed views on the previous amendment and I heard the point the Minister was making in that regard. If that amendment had gone to a formal vote, I am not sure how I would have voted because I could see the argument from both sides. The very point being made in the Sinn Féin amendment should be part of the review in three years' time, when potential problems and difficulties have emerged and have been highlighted.
I was a member of the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality for a short time. The lack of ongoing reviews of existing legislation, whether after three or five years, was brought into acute focus in the committee. The legislation in question was the legal aid Act. The exact point now escapes me, but the lack of a proper review came into acute focus. Legislation either never became operative or very good sections of legislation were never used. If my memory is correct, más buan mo chuimhne, the issue was that there were not enough resources available for legal aid to allow a particularly positive section in the Act to be used.
I ask the Minister to look at this amendment because it is really sensible. I agree completely with Deputy Howlin and I will not repeat what he said about the Houses having pre-legislative scrutiny but no scrutiny of Acts after they have passed, or none that makes any sense.