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 Header Item Regulation of Tenderers Bill 2019: First Stage (Continued)
 Header Item Credit Union (Amendment) Bill 2019: First Stage
 Header Item Twenty-Third Report of Committee of Selection: Motion
 Header Item Draft Order on the Central Fund: Referral to Select Committee
 Header Item Ministerial Rota for Parliamentary Questions: Motion
 Header Item Ceisteanna - Questions
 Header Item Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions
 Header Item Proposed Legislation

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 980 No. 7

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien] I recognise that the European regulations were transposed into Irish law through a statutory instrument. I believe Deputy Howlin was the Minister in charge when we brought that in but it is clear that the current European regulations are not being implemented. There is a major fear on the part of contracting authorities not to accept the lowest bid under any circumstances for fear of litigation. We have seen where some companies have taken contracting authorities to court and have been successful, therefore, we are seeking leave to introduce this Bill.

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

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Seán Kyne): Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne 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 Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

  Question put and agreed to.

Credit Union (Amendment) Bill 2019: First Stage

Deputy Michael McGrath: Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Credit Union and Co-operation with Overseas Regulators Act 2012 to make provision for the establishment of an independent appeals mechanism to enable Credit Unions to appeal decisions of the Central Bank on regulatory decisions and to provide for related matters.

I am pleased to have the opportunity of introducing the Credit Union (Amendment) Bill 2019. As all Members of the House will know, credit unions have existed in Ireland and served communities for over 50 years offering a crucial service in towns and villages throughout the country. They offer a viable and local alternative to the main retail banks. Credit unions are owned by their members, are supported by volunteers and are underpinned by the common bond.

  Over the past number of years credit unions have faced very significant challenges. The other credit union Bill we will be discussing later today or tomorrow seeks to dissolve the Credit Union Restructuring Board or ReBo. Over its lifetime there have been 82 restructuring projects involving 156 credit unions across 24 counties. As a result, the number of credit unions has dropped by one third in its lifetime. This trend, if it continues, will result in credit unions playing a diminished role in local communities. We cannot allow this to happen.

  It is simply too difficult for many credit unions, either by themselves or collectively, to lend money on longer and more viable terms. It is estimated that credit unions collectively have over €8 billion held in investments and the return on these investments is insignificant. Some credit unions are now refusing deposits because it is costing them too much to hold those deposits.

  Fianna Fáil has long been calling for the credit union movement to be used to assist in the building of social and affordable housing. While the Central Bank has changed the rules to permit that, the Government has not made any move to make this a reality in practice.

  Fianna Fáil has been calling for the credit union movement to be allowed to enter the mortgage market in a more substantial way. This would increase the revenue for credit unions and it would add much-needed competition in the mortgage market and potentially push down mortgage rates which are among the highest in Europe.

  The purpose of this Bill is to provide an appeal mechanism for credit unions or groups of credit unions against regulatory decisions. This would better enable credit unions to appeal decisions made by their regulator in the Central Bank, known as the registrar for credit unions. This Bill proposes to establish a credit union appeals committee. This committee would direct the registrar of the Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal in cases where the complainant was a credit union or group of credit unions.

  This Bill will remove the restrictions and state that any decision made by the Central Bank is an appealable one when it relates to credit unions. I look forward in due course to introducing the detail of the Bill.

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

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Seán Kyne): Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne 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 Michael McGrath: Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

  Question put and agreed to.

Twenty-Third Report of Committee of Selection: Motion

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

That Dáil Éireann approves the Twenty-Third Report of the Standing Committee of Selection in accordance with Standing Order 27F, copies of which were laid before Dáil Éireann on 7th March, 2019, and discharges a member and appoints a member to a Committee accordingly.

  Question put and agreed to.

Draft Order on the Central Fund: Referral to Select Committee

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

That the proposal that Dáil Éireann approves the following Order in draft:
Finance Act 2004 (Section 91) (Deferred Surrender to the Central Fund) Order 2019,
copies of which have been laid in draft form before Dáil Éireann on 11th March, 2019, be referred to the Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach, in accordance with Standing Order 84A(3)(b), which, not later than 28th March, 2019, shall send a message to the Dáil in the manner prescribed in Standing Order 90, and Standing Order 89(2) shall accordingly apply.

  Question put and agreed to.

Ministerial Rota for Parliamentary Questions: Motion

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

That, notwithstanding anything in the Order of the Dáil of 12th December, 2017, setting out the rota in which Questions to members of the Government are to be asked, Questions for oral answer, following those next set down to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, shall be set down to Ministers in the following temporary sequence:
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
whereupon the sequence established by the Order of 12th December, 2017, shall continue with Questions to the Minister for Rural and Community Development.

  Question put and agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Rachaimid ar aghaidh le ceisteanna don Aire Dlí agus Cirt agus Comhionannais, an Teachta Charlie Flanagan.

Ceisteanna - Questions

Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

Proposed Legislation

 1. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan his plans to amend the Succession Act 1965 to ensure that perpetrators or their families cannot benefit in cases of familicide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12314/19]

Deputy Niall Collins: Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins The Minister will be aware of the bravery of Mary Coll and Jacqueline Connolly in speaking out about the tragedy which befell their family. The testament to their bravery is truly remarkable. I think he will agree it demands a comprehensive response on the part of the State. As Alan Hawe was the last to die, the laws of succession currently mean that Clodagh Hawe's family faces a number of potential claims against the family's estate. What action has the Minister taken to address this issue?

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I thank the Deputy for his question on this sensitive and important issue. Regrettably, we have become all too aware of issues connected with familicide as a result of appalling and tragic events recently which have been discussed in the public domain. I would like, at the outset, to take this opportunity once again to express my sincere condolences to the Coll family on the tragic loss of Clodagh, Liam, Niall and Ryan. I extend those condolences to other families who have been affected in such devastating circumstances.

  As Deputy Collins will be aware, my Department is working with the Office of the Attorney General to finalise amendments to Deputy O'Callaghan's Private Members' Bill on the prevention of benefit from homicide. As the Deputy will appreciate, there are a number of complex legal issues to be addressed in the amendments, which require thorough examination by experts in this field of law. I am also aware that the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality will engage in pre-legislative scrutiny on that Bill on 27 March. I look forward to receiving the committee's draft report, and any recommendations it may have, in due course.

  As Deputy Collins has acknowledged, the provisions of Deputy O'Callaghan's Bill do not extend to the circumstances which have arisen in the murder of Clodagh Hawe and her family. As I have already announced, following my engagement with the Coll family, I am putting in place arrangements for a study to be conducted in relation to such cases. The study will be carried out to determine the most appropriate multi-agency protocols and supports, as well as any legislative or other changes that may assist in cases of familicide. The study will also examine the experience of domestic homicide reviews in other jurisdictions and make any recommendations that may be deemed appropriate. The terms of reference for the study will be finalised shortly. I hope to proceed with the appointment of the person to lead the study as soon as possible.

  I have also asked officials in my Department to examine options in relation to the succession-related aspects in the context of amendments to Deputy O'Callaghan's Private Members' Bill in consultation with the Attorney General's office.

  Additional information not given on the floor of the House.

This is a complex area of the law and I want to ensure that we avoid any unintended or unforeseen consequences. Nonetheless, if the matter can be addressed through an amendment to that Bill it is my intention to bring any necessary proposals to Government as a matter of priority.

  As I mentioned, my Department is already engaged in consultations with the Attorney General's office on possible reform options. In this context, I would of course welcome any input from the joint committee as part of its pre-legislative scrutiny of Deputy O'Callaghan's Private Members Bill and I look forward to co-operation from colleagues across both Houses in progressing this matter.

Deputy Niall Collins: Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins The Minister will be aware that the Coll family has specifically requested that the Succession Act of 1965 be updated to address the lacuna that exists with regard to murder-suicide. He referenced the Bill my colleague, Deputy O'Callaghan, has put forward, the Civil Liability (Amendment)(Prevention of Benefits from Homicide) Bill 2017, which is currently on Committee Stage. As the Minister knows, the Bill is a recommendation of the Law Reform Commission and it predates the peculiarities of the case we have been discussing. This has been a high-profile yet extremely sensitive case, which has been discussed on a number of occasions on the Claire Byrne programme and by the family members on live television, which people should not have to do. Can we get a categorical assurance from the Minister that every effort will be made to ensure that the passage of this Bill will not be delayed unduly for any reason whatsoever?

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I wish to assure Deputy Collins, the House and the public that I share his concern but this is a most complex area of law. I am very anxious to ensure that there are no unintended or unforeseen consequences. It is important to consider the matter in the wider context than just the recent case which has been discussed in this House. For example, one could possibly imagine a similar case arising in the circumstances of long-term domestic violence where natural justice and public sympathies might lie with the perpetrator rather than the victim. Another example worthy of consideration is where a perpetrator had a child from a previous relationship and the rights of that child need to be considered. I merely give these examples to illustrate the need for careful legal analysis before we pass any law.


Last Updated: 13/07/2020 14:33:15 First Page Previous Page Page of 90 Next Page Last Page