An open letter from 22 organisations has criticised the lack of time being given to debate what it describes as “complex and extensive last-minute” amendments to legislation going through the Oireachtas.
The bodies – including the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), the Irish Penal Reform Trust, and Transparency International Ireland – say that they have “serious concerns” about the way in which some bills have been handled.
They cite the Communications (Retention of Data Bill) 2022, the Electoral Reform Bill 2022, and the Planning and Development, Maritime and Valuation (Amendment) Bill 2022 as examples.
“In recent weeks we have seen what can only be described as a serious and sustained abuse of the legislative process by the Government
“In an effort to complete legislation before the summer recess, wholly insufficient time has been allocated for the proper examination of bills, a function which is the democratic prerogative of the Oireachtas,” they add.
The letter says that a number of these bills have had committee, report and final stages merged into a single session.
“This renders the legislative process to be little more than a rubber-stamping exercise for bills which the Government can progress without oversight,” it states.
Last week, the European Commission’s annual rule-of-law report noted concerns expressed by the President about the concentrated discussion of new bills during the two weeks before recesses.