The Government is continuing its efforts to address the ongoing daily challenges faced by people and society in general. With a total of 38 priority pieces of draft legislation (Bills) planned for this 13 week Dáil, sitting Chief Whip Jack Chambers said, "this is an ambitious schedule of important bills across a range of areas, which will ensure the country can respond to the immediate challenges we face”.
However, many of the Bills scheduled for this term previously featured in the summer legislative programme for 2022.
The full programme is available here.
We consider some of these key areas.
The Right to Request Remote Work Bill and the Work Life Balance Bill which appeared on the Government’s summer legislative programme appear again on the autumn agenda. The former bill introduces the right to request remote work, which is not an automatic right. Further work was done on this Bill to provide legal clarity for employers in dealing with such requests. The Work Life Balance Bill promotes the participation of women in the labour market and the taking of family related leave and flexible working arrangements. It now includes new provisions for Domestic Violence Leave.
The Land Value Sharing and Urban Development Zones Bill will enable the State to retain a share of any increase in land value occurring as a result of certain redesignation/zoning decisions. The Bill is a key part of the Government’s Housing for All Plan. It is expected that this will facilitate an increase in the supply of housing and will provide greater certainty over the obligations on landowners and developers to contribute towards the infrastructure required, with the result that the price of residential development land being reduced over time. The Planning and Development Bill, which will codify the current planning law, is due to be approved by cabinet this term.
The Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill is being introduced to establish a licencing system for the sale of tobacco and nicotine inhaling products. The Health Insurance Amendment Bill includes a revised risk equalisation credits and stamp duty levies to apply to health insurance policies. It also introduces a High Cost Claims Pool in the Risk Equalisation Scheme.
The Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences and Human Trafficking) Bill amends the law on consent, knowledge, and belief in rape cases by requiring an accused person to demonstrate their belief that they had consent which belief was objectively reasonable. The Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill has been developed on the basis of the recommendations in the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing. Particular focus is on the work of the Policing Authority in providing independent public scrutiny and oversight of An Garda Síochána in relation to its policing functions. The Gambling Regulation Bill, which seeks to establish an independent gambling regulator, is ready for approval by cabinet.
The Regulation of Lobbying (Amendment) Bill seeks to amend and strengthen the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 by:
- Improving the operation and functionality of the Lobbying Register,
- Strengthening the existing legislation and its enforcement, and
- Introducing sanctions for individuals who breach the terms of the Act.
The Oil Emergency Contingency and Transfer of Renewable Transport Fuels Functions Bill provides for oil emergency contingency planning and response measures and the transfer of certain functions relating to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation Scheme and the Biofuel Levy from the Minister to the Minister for Transport. The Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme Bill has been introduced to make payments and provide a form of enhanced medical card to former residents of Institutions. The Charities (Amendment) Bill strengthens the powers of the Charities Regulator to ensure greater public trust and confidence in the sector. The Bill also makes provision for “the advancement of human rights” as a recognised charitable purpose, which will have a significant positive impact on charities working on human rights’ issues.
The autumn legislative programme is again ambitious. However, as many of these Bills featured in previous Dáil sittings, it remains to be seen whether in fact many of these priority bills become law this term.
For more information on the Government Legislation Programme, contact a member of our Public, Regulatory & Investigations team.
The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.