Bill on EDA being prepared


LEGISLATION TO ensure Cabinet and Dáil approval of Ireland’s participation in European Defence Agency (EDA) operations will be brought before the House “as soon as possible”, according to Tánaiste Mary Coughlan.

She confirmed to the Dáil the Bill was being prepared, “but I cannot give a commitment on when it will be available”.

A decision to introduce the legislation follows talks between the Coalition partners as the Greens sought to assure supporters of safeguards to protect against the erosion of Ireland’s neutrality.

Jimmy Deenihan (FG, Kerry North), whose party supports an ending of neutrality and full participation in the EDA, described the legislation “as a major issue” and asked “will it be introduced before or after the referendum”?

Ms Coughlan said the Government was finalising legislation to allow for a referendum, and aimed to bring it to the Oireachtas before the summer recess. “The other Bill is being drafted but I cannot give a commitment on when it will be available.”

The Sinn Féin leader in the Dáil, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, had earlier asked if the legislation to allow for the referendum would be dealt with before the summer and “will the Bill facilitate putting to the electorate the exact same Lisbon Treaty on which we have already passed judgement”?

Ms Coughlan said the Government “approved the wording of the Twenty-ninth Amendment of the Constitution Bill” and it was intended to “go before the House and be complete before we rise”.

Labour deputy leader Joan Burton asked about legislation on workers’ rights guarantees.

Ms Coughlan said the Industrial Relations Bill would be published once the social partners had completed consideration of it.

The Agency Regulation Bill was ready for publication, while the agency workers’ directive “will take at least two years”.