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 Header Item Questions on Proposed Legislation (Continued)
 Header Item Business of Dáil
 Header Item Criminal Justice (Aggravation by Prejudice) Bill 2016: First Stage
 Header Item Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016: First Stage
 Header Item Standing Orders: Motion
 Header Item Budgetary Oversight Arrangements: Motion

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 919 No. 2
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 103 Next Page Last Page

  1 o’clock

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty] This is what is happening here. It should not be about blaming the CSO, which is the referee in this. It is about whether the Government will ensure the assets taken onshore by these companies will be taxed appropriately so we get the benefit of them. This is something that has happened every single year. In 2014, our EU contribution went up by €16 million. In 2013 it was about €55 million and in 2012 it went up again. We have been a lone voice in this House raising this issue year on year. Given the CSO readjustment, it is time for the Government to take decisive action and close some of these loopholes that exist.

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald In reply to the Deputy before on this issue I said that Revenue and the Department of Finance were examining section 110 in the context in which we discussed it. I have no doubt the Minister for Finance, in view of the figures that were published, will be making further contributions on that particular aspect of the figures in the course of the budgetary discussions with the new budgetary committee and in the lead up to the budget.

Deputy Eugene Murphy: Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy I want to return briefly to the issue of refuse collection. In my constituency, as my constituency colleague, the Minister, Deputy Naughten, would know, we have a number of people who use the tagging system. That is where one goes to a shop, buys a tag and puts it onto the bag. That system is gone. We managed, as part of the agreement with the Government, to come to an arrangement to suspend charges on people with bins. A considerable number of people in this country have been left in limbo. They are now being charged to register plus pay-by-weight. They are the only people who now have to pay by weight. Will the Tánaiste, the Taoiseach and the Minister, Deputy Coveney, who sympathised with me on this issue, go back to the refuse company and tell it to give these people a break and treat them like everybody else?

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I confirm that the Minister, as I said in the House recently, is in continual contact with the companies. A number of issues have arisen in relation to one particular company but he is monitoring the situation and, as I said before, will consider legislation if it is necessary. He is examining any particular issues that are arising in the interim. I suggest the Deputy corresponds with him on that particular issue.

Business of Dáil

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl That concludes an extended edition of questions on proposed legislation. I understand the Minister of State, Deputy Regina Doherty, has a business proposal to put to the House.

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty It is proposed that the following items be taken today without debate after questions on proposed legislation, which is now: No. 1, motion re Standing Orders 6, 70, 84A, 93, 95, 107 and Schedule 1 to Standing Orders; No. 2, motion re arrangements re the budget 2017; and No. 3, motion re the fourth report of the Committee of Selection and Appointment of Chairs.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is that agreed? Agreed.

Criminal Justice (Aggravation by Prejudice) Bill 2016: First Stage

Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin: Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to make provision for aggravation by prejudice of offences in circumstances where an offence, at the time of commission, is accompanied by prejudice relating to the race, colour or ethnic origin, a disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity of a person and to provide for related matters.

This is about tackling hate crimes. In my capacity as Fianna Fáil equality spokesperson I am sponsoring it with my colleague, Deputy Margaret Murphy-O'Mahony, who is our party spokesperson on disability. This Criminal Justice (Aggravation by Prejudice) Bill 2016 proposes that when an offence occurs and is aggravated by prejudice relating to colour, ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity of the person against whom the offence is committed and when it is stated in either an indictment or complaint or both that an offence is aggravated by prejudice then on conviction the court shall find that the offence is aggravated by prejudice relating to race, colour or ethnic origin. The court shall also record the conviction in a manner that demonstrates it is an offence aggravated by prejudice and will take this into account when determining the sentence. When the sentence in respect of the offence is different from that which the court would have imposed if the offence was not aggravated, the court will state the extent of and reasons for that difference.

  The effect of this Bill would be that the courts would have to consider an offender's prejudice or hatred towards these groups and sentence the offender accordingly. Ireland does not have specific hate crime laws and it is necessary that we should have. Such legislation will make it very clear that such prejudice and hatred will not be countenanced or tolerated. Furthermore, such a law would enable us to keep better track of such incidents. Similar legislation is in place in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales: it is time we had it to. With my colleague, Deputy Murphy-O'Mahony, I look forward to taking this Bill further when we return after the recess. I commend the Bill to the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is the Bill being opposed?

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty No.

  Question put and agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin: Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

  Question put and agreed to.

Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016: First Stage

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith I move:

Go gceadófar go dtabharfar isteach Bille dá ngairtear Acht do dhéanamh socrú maidir le rialáil a dhéanamh ar channabas atá lena úsáid chun críocha íocshláinte agus chun na críche sin do bhunú an Údaráis um Rialáil Cannabais; do dhéanamh socrú maidir le soláthar cannabais atá lena úsáid chun críocha íocshláinte a cheadúnú; agus do dhéanamh socrú i dtaobh nithe gaolmhara.

This Bill sets out to give some structure to what is becoming an increasingly demand-led medication. It is demand-led by a number of very specific groups of ill-health sufferers. We met with a society that represents Dravet syndrome. For those who do not know what it is, it is a form of very severe epilepsy which generally manifests itself in children. Cannabis oil can help a great deal to prevent fitting and seizures. The second group that uses it quite frequently are those with multiple sclerosis. I know from living in Ballyfermot that many MS sufferers already obtain cannabis oil to give them relief but mainly the use of cannabis alleviates the nausea, muscle spasms and pain that go with multiple sclerosis. Those two groups are quite significant groups of people with bad health in society and should be considered. There is anecdotal if not scientific evidence to show it provides pain relief to people who suffer from various forms of cancer. We are trying to facilitate the use of cannabis and cannabis-related products for medicinal purposes but these would be ones that have already been experimented on and would clearly have to be prescribed by a medical practitioner or consultant. To do this, we are proposing to establish a cannabis regulation authority which would bear the costs that may be incurred by the State as a result rather than the State bearing the cost. Anybody who holds this cannabis-related product or cannabis for distribution through prescription would have to be licensed to do so. There would be restrictions on selling it, holding it and only people with scripts could obtain it. There are further issues in the Bill on labelling, testing, advertising and having due regard for the needs to users of this product and to promote awareness and an understanding more broadly of cannabis and its effects.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is the Bill being opposed?

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty No.

  Question put and agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

  Question put and agreed to.

Standing Orders: Motion

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty I move:

That, in accordance with the recommendation of the sub-Committee on Dáil Reform under Standing Order 107(1)(a), the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business be amended as follows:
a) in paragraph (10)(d) of Standing Order 6, by the deletion of ‘90 minutes’ and the substitution of ‘60 minutes’;

b) in paragraph (3)(f) of Standing Order 70, by the deletion of ‘or Report stages’ and the substitution of ‘, Report and Final Stages’;

(c) by the deletion of paragraph (6) in Standing Order 84A and the substitution of the following:
‘(6) Where a Select Committee appointed pursuant to this Standing Order has been joined with a Select Committee appointed by Seanad Éireann, the Chairman of the Dáil Select Committee shall also be the Chairman of the Joint Committee.’;
(d) in paragraph (1) of Standing Order 93, by the deletion of all words from, ‘In Joint Committees’ down to and including ‘member of either House.’;

(e) in paragraph (3) of Standing Order 95, by the deletion of ‘and amendments’ and the substitution of ‘, save in accordance with paragraph (2), and further to the provisions of Standing Order 150 in relation to the tabling of amendments to Bills’;

(f) in paragraph (1) of Standing Order 107, by the insertion of the following after ‘Committee on Procedure’:
‘, which is a continuation in being of the Committee under its former title, namely, the Committee on Procedure and Privileges,’; and
g) in paragraph (r) of Schedule 1, by the insertion of ‘or Leas-Cheann Comhairle’ after ‘Ceann Comhairle’.”

  Question put and agreed to.

Budgetary Oversight Arrangements: Motion

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty I move:

That, until 31st December, 2016 or until the Dáil shall otherwise order–
(1) A Select Committee, which shall be called the Committee on Budgetary Oversight, is hereby established to consider–
(a) public expenditure policy;

(b) policy affecting Exchequer revenue receipts; and

(c) the overall fiscal position, including the aggregated position on revenue and expenditure and the General Government Balance (including on a structural basis) and medium-term projections for the public finances.
(2) Notwithstanding the generality of the foregoing, for the purposes of considering Budget 2017, the Committee shall consider–
(a) the expenditure position having regard to:
(i) the Government Expenditure Ceiling; and

(ii) where significant variation from the expenditure profile could potentially impact on the overall fiscal position, Ministerial Expenditure Ceilings applying to individual Estimates or groups of Estimates for Public Services;
(b) the position regarding Exchequer revenue receipts;

(c) the fiscal position, including the question of whether or not fiscal rules are being complied with; and

(d) recommendations made by any other Committee pursuant to paragraph (7).
(3) The Committee on Budgetary Oversight shall have the following powers–
(a) power to send for persons, papers and records as defined in Standing Order 85(2A) and 88;

(b) power to take oral and written evidence and submissions as defined in Standing Order 85(1) and (2);

(c) power to appoint sub-Committees as defined in Standing Order 85(3);

(d) power to engage consultants as defined in Standing Order 85(8); and

(e) power to travel as defined in Standing Order 85(9).
(4) Every report which the Committee on Budgetary Oversight proposes to make shall on adoption by the Committee, be laid before the Dáil forthwith, whereupon the Committee shall be empowered to print and publish such report, together with such related documents it thinks fit.

(5) The Committee on Budgetary Oversight shall consist of 15 members, none of whom shall be a member of the Government or a Minister of State, and six of whom shall constitute a quorum, nominated as follows–
(a) four members by the Government;

(b) four members by Fianna Fáil;

(c) two members by Sinn Féin; and

(d) one member each by the Labour Party, AAA-PBP, Independents 4 Change, the Rural Independent Group and Social Democrats-Green Party Group.
(6) For the purposes of considering Budget 2017, but with due regard however to the limited opportunity available, each Sectoral Committee may consider, in relation to Departments and bodies accountable to it–
(a) actual performance and associated expenditure and the adequacy of performance targets, including the improvements that may be necessary or appropriate; and

(b) changes contemplated to outputs and service delivery, in respect of which Government or Ministerial approval would or might be required, and in the associated funding as a result.
 (7) Each Sectoral Committee may report its opinions and recommendations and the basis of its assessment as the Committee considers appropriate: Provided that where a Sectoral Committee proposes to make recommendations that cannot be accommodated within the three year expenditure ceilings for the relevant Estimates or group of Estimates for Public Services, the recommendations shall be contained in a report to be made to the Committee on Budgetary Oversight.

  Question put and agreed to.


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