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Order of Business (Continued)

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 971 No. 1

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The Tánaiste: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney First it is a matter for the Business Committee but I am certainly happy to make myself available for statements in advance of that British–Irish Intergovernmental Conference, BIIGC. We have been asking for some time for the convening of a British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference. I think that request had the support of all parties in this House and I thank them for that. There is an agreement to hold that on 25 July. It will be chaired by David Lidington and me. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, will also be involved, as will our Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Flanagan. On the agenda, which has not been finalised, we will certainly see several east-west issues being discussed, particularly around security. Of course we will be discussing issues relating to political instability in Northern Ireland also. It is important that people understand why the BIIGC is significant. This is a structure of the Good Friday Agreement. It does not have the capacity to solve everything. On some issues it is a consultative body, on others it is more than that. We will respond to the opportunities of the BIIGC in a way that is absolutely consistent with the Good Friday Agreement.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I published the Public Sector Standards Bill in this House in May 2015. It passed Second Stage in January 2016. The Bill provides for the establishment of the office of public sector standards commissioner, confers on that officeholder certain functions of the Standards in Public Office Commission, SIPOC, and provides for standards of conduct for public officials and imposes obligations. It will enhance the existing framework for identifying, disclosing and managing conflicts of interest and minimising the risk of corruption in public office.

  The Bill has been stalled on Committee Stage since April 2017 when it got as far as section 43 out of its 66 sections. At the time the Government promised that it would be passed by the coming summer, that was last summer. When will this Bill progress? Is it true, as was reported in The Sunday Business Post, that the Government is concerned that some Deputies have expressed concerns about some of the reforms that would impact on them?

The Tánaiste: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I will make sure that we get a more detailed note for the Deputy but my understanding is that amendments are being worked on for Committee Stage and this is more likely to be dealt with in the next term-----

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin After one and a half years.

The Tánaiste: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney -----than in the next couple of weeks.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger A review of the Gender Recognition Act 2015 is taking place. The Act allows trans and non-binary people to legally determine their own gender. However, when seeking to transition medically trans and non-binary people are being forced to jump through massive hoops, sit on impossibly long waiting lists or go abroad for healthcare, something we said was no longer acceptable. Many people are going through mental torture waiting two to three years. When will the Government bring in legislation to bring us in line with best practice and World Health Organisation, WHO, guidelines in our treatment of transgender people? The WHO states that this is not a health condition yet we are forcing transgender people to go through psychiatric evaluation before they can get hormone or other follow-up. The Government claims that we are following World Professional Association for Transgender Health, WPATH, guidelines but we still have not abolished the psychiatric model of care in favour of informed consent. Teenagers are being forced to wait for years because of the delays in the child and adolescent mental health services, CAMHS. Will the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection agree to meet the This is Me Campaign group which is campaigning on this issue, and which will hold a protest on Saturday at 4 p.m.? Will we implement WPATH and recruit and educate more doctors? There is one endocrinologist dealing with thousands of people seeking treatment.

Deputy Regina Doherty: Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty I can only assume from the way the Deputy has asked the question that she may not be aware that we have just gone through a very comprehensive review of the Gender Recognition Act 2015. The report was sent to me only last week. I am nearly finished reading it and will commence a meeting-----

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger I am concerned about the health care issues.

Deputy Regina Doherty: Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The review of the Act encompasses all the issues and challenges facing that particular community. The only thing I can agree to today is that once I have finished reviewing the report I will issue it and publish it before the House. I will probably bring a memo to Cabinet in the autumn regarding draft legislation.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger Does it get rid of the psychiatric model of care?

Deputy Regina Doherty: Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The Deputy will see the recommendations in the report.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger Does it, "Yes" or "No"?

Deputy Regina Doherty: Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The Deputy will be able to see the recommendations in the report when it is published in full

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger We are lagging way behind other countries.


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