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51 priority bills to include defamation law changes
Government Chief Whip, Minister Hildegarde Naughton Pic: RollingNews.ie

28 Sep 2023 / legislation Print

51 priority bills including changes to defamation law

A total of 51 priority bills are due for progression in the autumn legislative programme, which has been published by Government Chief Whip, Minister Hildegarde Naughton.

Minister Naughton has confirmed that 27 bills will now be prioritised for publication and 24 bills for drafting.

She said: “In the first nine months of office as Government Chief Whip I am very pleased to confirm that we have seen some 32 bills enacted with a further 26 bills published and progressing through the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Financial wellbeing

The bills include safeguarding the financial wellbeing of the ageing population through publication of the Automatic Enrolment Retirement Savings System Bill, she said.

“We are also making several legislative changes in the space of housing that will benefit renters and those who want to own their own home,” the minister said.

Some 400 people, couples and families are moving weekly to a new home as supply of housing increases, she stated.

The Residential Tenancies (Right to Purchase) Bill 2023 will give renters the first right of refusal to purchase a property when it is put on the market for sale.

The Planning and Development Bill will clarify the current planning code in addition to the Land Value Sharing Bill which will allow the State to secure a proportion of the uplift in land values resulting from zoning and designation to facilitate provision of infrastructure, the minister said.

“We will progress legislation to support people in starting a family through the Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill, and we are changing our statute books to ban children from purchasing vapes,’ she stated.

A bill also provides for an exemption of Rent a Room income from the medical card assessment process  which will provide certainty to families and assist in boosting rental supply.

Drafting will also be prioritised for the Mental Health Bill to update and replace the Mental Health Act 2001 to give effect to recommendations of an Expert Group Review on mental health legislation.

District heating

The Heat Bill which will establish a regulatory model for district heating to capture waste heat and redirect it towards homes and businesses.

The Department of Justice will publish the Defamation Bill, the Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence Agency Bill and Garda Síochána (Powers) Bill.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth will be progressing a Programme for Government commitment in banning “conversion therapy” practices in Ireland in addition to providing for the entitlement to maternity leave for members of the Oireachtas, the minister stated.

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