The legislative programme for the autumn 2021 Oireachtas session has been confirmed by Government Chief Whip Jack Chambers, and includes streamlined Strategic Housing Development (SHD) legislation,
It contains 46 bills for priority drafting and publication and was approved by Cabinet following consultation with Government departments, officials and the attorney general.
Minister Chambers said that the autumn programme contained a range of important bills, which would ensure that the country could effectively overcome challenges, while emerging from the pandemic.
He added that the Government had 62 separate bills published since coming to office in June last year, and 62 bills enacted in the same period.
“This term, we will prioritise legislation in the area of housing, including the Housing & Residential Tenancies Bill to protect tenants, and the Planning & Development Bill to replace the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) with a more streamlined system,” he said.
“We will work to make progress on the drafting of five health bills, including the Health Insurance Amendment Bill, and new legislation to ensure safe access to termination-of-pregnancy services,” he said.
In the justice sector, the Garda Síochána (Digital Recording) Bill will provide for the use of body-worn cameras and automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR) by An Garda Síochána.
The Judicial Appointments Commission Bill will amend the law in relation to judicial appointments and establish a Judicial Appointments Commission to make recommendations.
The European Convention on Human Rights (Delays in Court proceedings) Bill will provide for statutory compensation for breach of article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, or the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time.
Court administration will also be reformed, and civil law reforms enacted in the areas of immigration and asylum, citizenship, civil legal aid, legal-services regulation, succession, bankruptcy, licensing, and land and conveyancing.
In transport, the Road Traffic Bill will regulate e-scooters and clamp down on the dangerous use of scramblers.
Under the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, the penalty for conspiracy to murder will increase from ten years to life imprisonment.
A European Arrest Warrant (Amendment) Bill will amend existing European Arrest Warrant and extradition legislation to give effect to proposals to improve its operation.
A Sex Offenders (Amendment) Bill will change the monitoring arrangements for convicted sex offenders, to reduce the period within which they must notify a change in their whereabouts, and will provide for electronic monitoring and retention of photographs and fingerprints.
The Bill also provides for limited disclosure of information relating to a sex offender where necessary to avoid a serious risk to public safety.
The bill also provides for limited disclosure of information relating to a sex offender, where necessary to avoid a serious risk to public safety.
In the media sector, an Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill will provide for:
- The establishment of a Media Commission,
- The dissolution of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland,
- A regulatory framework for online safety to tackle the spread and amplification of harmful online content,
- Updates to regulation of audio-visual media services, and
- Implementation of the revised audio-visual Media Services Directive.
Minister Chambers added: “This term will also see the passage of Budget 2022, and the Finance Bill will give effect to the changes outlined in the budget.
"There will be four pieces of legislation in the areas of children and childcare, including the Birth Information and Tracing Bill and the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Amendment Bill," he said.
The legislative programme also contains new legislation on consumer-rights protections.