Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Civil Partnership Bill delayed

April 12th, 2009 · 9 Comments · LGBT, Marriage Equality, Same Sex Partnerships

In January 18 pieces of legislation were promised for publication by Goverment Chief Whip and Minister for State, Pat Carey. They were to be published by April 9, the last day of the current Dáil session.

Seven of these bills were to emerge from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform including the Civil Partnership Bill. On April 9 I called the Department and was told that there was no date expected for publication. I then called the office of the Chief Whip and a call was returned to me which stated that the bill was in an advanced stage of preparation and would be published in the next session.

I tuned into the Order of Business in the Dáil that morning and saw I was not the only one interested in the date for the publication of the bill.

Deputy Charles Flanagan (Fine Gael Justice Spokes-person)

…I refer in particular to the legislative programme published on 26 January that lists six Bills to be published by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform in this session. Will the Tánaiste confirm when during this session the following Bills were published: No. 9 the Civil Partnership Bill; No. 10 the Covert Surveillance Bill; No. 11 the Criminal Justice (Forensic Sampling and Evidence) Bill; No. 12 the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill; No. 13 the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering) Bill, to transpose the third money laundering directive into national law – this is the last country in the EU to effect this transposition; No. 14 the Criminal Procedure Bill and No. 15 the Property Services (Regulatory) Bill? Will the Tánaiste confirm on this, the last day of yet another session, that the Government is paralysed not only in respect of the economy and financial matters but in the justice area where nothing is happening?

An Tanaiste, Mary Coughlan replied

In normal circumstances the House would be in a position to deal with more legislation that would be on particular lists but on this occasion and in the previous session we have had to deal with a considerable number of emergency Bills which were complex and took considerable time.

We had the publication of the Anglo Irish Corporation Act, the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill and the Residential Tenancies Bill. Those were emergency pieces of legislation which were facilitated in this House. There were several debates on hugely important issues. We have a second Finance Bill to discuss, whereas in normal circumstances we would have only one.

Deputy Bernard Durkan: A third one.

The Tánaiste: A considerable number of pieces of legislation on the specific issues raised are almost completed. At the last Cabinet meeting we signed off on the covert surveillance Bill. This session does not complete this work today but will continue until 22 April and further publications of legislation will take place.

I noted later on Thursday that Nessa Childers, Labour Party candidate for the East constituency of the European Parliament Elections released a statement criticising the delay and commiting herself to supporting lesbians and gay men if elected.

Next week sees another protest from LGBT Noise giving the Government the red card and calling for Civil Marriage. The turn out at the last rally was dissappointing and I’ve noticed a slight shift in the plugs to get those who don’t want to marry themselves to support the cause. Wonder would it ever work the other way?

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