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Questions on Proposed Legislation

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 916 No. 1

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Questions on Proposed Legislation

Deputy Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry There are reports in the media this morning that Deputy Josepha Madigan is to introduce a Private Members' Bill proposing to reduce the waiting time for divorce to two years. According to the reports, the Bill has the support of the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste. Does the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Richard Bruton, also support the legislation? Is it the Government's position that it will support the Bill? Will the Minister confirm that the legislation will be introduced and indicate whether a referendum would be required on the matter?

Following media reports, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, formerly known as An Bord Altranais, commissioned outside experts to carry out a review of the organisation. The review concluded that management structures were in need of significant reform and did not comply with guidelines on procurement and the employment of staff. This is unacceptable, given that the board sets standards for the professional development of nurses and midwifes. The report states the unit within the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland which deals with fitness to practise issues is unfit for purpose and makes recommendations that the relevant legislation be reviewed.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl We cannot have a debate on the issue now.

Deputy Marc MacSharry: Information on Marc MacSharry Zoom on Marc MacSharry Is the Minister aware of it? Will he confirm that the relevant legislation will be reviewed? What measures will the Government take in the matter?

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton While I have read the reports to which the Deputy refers on a Private Members' Bill, I have not seen the Bill and it will be a matter for the Deputy in question to present it to the House. The Government will consider the legislation and decide its position on it at that stage. It seeks to encourage more Deputies to introduce Bills and it is good to note, therefore, that this opportunity is being taken.

On the investigations into the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland or rather the assessment of its operations, this was done at the request of the Department of Health following a protected disclosure. If additional legislative changes are necessary, they will be undertaken. I understand many of the proposed changes relate to governance and financial procedures in the board. A new president and interim chief executive officer have been appointed to it and the post of director of finance and corporate services has been advertised. Considerable action is being taken to ensure the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland which has fully accepted the findings of the report that has been prepared will execute them.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald The Minister's response in the case of Ibrahim Halawa was entirely inadequate and it is not the first time the response on the issue has been entirely inadequate. When does the Taoiseach intend to intervene in this case and make direct contact with the head of the Egyptian state to set out categorically that we will no longer tolerate the lack of due process and justice and the absolute abuse of an Irish citizen, a young Dublin man, who has now been held for three years? It is utterly outrageous.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl We are taking questions on proposed legislation.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald My question is to the Taoiseach. When will he intervene in this matter because his intervention is required?

On a second issue, the report on the financial emergency measures in the public interest, FEMPI, legislation has been laid before the House, but as yet no provision has been made for a debate on these matters which were also raised earlier. Rather than asking the Minister about promised legislation, I feel I am asking about threatened legislative proposals when I request that the Government ensure gardaí and teachers will not be penalised because they refused to succumb to the wishes of this Government and the previous Administration.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton It must be borne in mind that the FEMPI legislation was designed to protect our capacity as a country to strike the necessary balance between the demand for new public services and the restoration of public pay over time and in an orderly manner. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has made it clear that the cost of reversing the FEMPI legislation in full would be in the order of €1.4 billion. That is far in excess of what will be available in the forthcoming budget - indeed almost two budgets - to achieve the ambitions Deputies on all sides advance in housing provision, the health service and many other areas.


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