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Brexit impacts Dáil legislative schedule

16 Jan 2019 / legislation Print

Brexit impacts heavily on Dáil legislative schedule

The Government’s legislative programme has been limited to the spring period of January to March only because of the exceptionally uncertain circumstances brought about by Brexit. 

The priority list contains six bills with a Brexit omnibus bill, the Miscellaneous Provisions (Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 29 March 2019) Bill, the primary item for the spring programme. 

Right to vote

Other legislation includes the constitutional amendment bills to facilitate a referendum on extending the right to vote in Presidential elections to Irish citizens abroad and the referendum to change the law regarding divorce.

An Electoral Amendment Bill is included to enable the number of MEPs for Ireland to increase. Also included is enabling legislation to establish a tribunal to address issues regarding cervical cancer screening. 

Chief whip Sean Kyne (pictured above) said the programme reflects careful planning for Brexit.

Omnibus bill

“The omnibus bill for Brexit is, I believe, one of the most extensive bills to be considered by the Oireachtas and comprises vital legislation across 17 elements that will need to be enacted prior to Brexit in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

“While the possibility of introducing a number of Brexit-related bills was considered we believe a single, standalone bill, that contains a number of parts, is the most efficient and effective way of preparing for Brexit. 

“The Bill will focus on areas including healthcare, transport, social welfare and employment as well as specific all island issues such as public transport and energy.

Months of work

“It represents months of work by officials from across Government and, in particular, from the Department of Taoiseach and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

"In addition, many of the provisions will be provided for through statutory instruments that will be ready for signing should they be required in the event of a no-deal Brexit,” he said.

The Dáil will probably be required to hold additional sittings in March.

Other bills on the Order Paper include the National Surplus Bill (Rainy Day Fund), the Health Service Executive (Governance) Bill, and the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill.

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