Seanad leader criticises Department of Justice over amendments

Legislation on asylum published last week, 90 amendments introduced this week

Fine Gael Seanad leader Maurice Cummins: “I question why the Bill was published in the first place when so many amendments have been produced”

Fine Gael Seanad leader Maurice Cummins: “I question why the Bill was published in the first place when so many amendments have been produced”

 

Government leaders in the Seanad have criticised the Department of Justice for rushing legislation and making amendments immediately after publication of its Bills.

Fine Gael Seanad leader Maurice Cummins said he could not understand how the department “can publish a Bill only last week yet produce 80 or 90 amendments this week”.

“I question why the Bill was published in the first place when so many amendments have been produced,” he said.

He was referring to the International Protection Bill, which aims to introduce a single procedure for the examination of applications for asylum in Ireland.

Mr Cummins expressed regret that he would have to guillotine the Bill on Monday but he believed there was sufficient time for debate.

He said many of the amendments were technical but Sinn Féin’s Trevor Ó Clochartaigh said there were 400 amendments.

On Wednesday, Mr Cummins also criticised the department’s approach to the Bill to reform legal services.

Labour Seanad deputy leader Ivana Bacik said they were again, as in previous Decembers, “facing a large amount of legislation being pushed through very late in the day”.

She said they had looked for legislation earlier in the year but “we always end up coming up against a deadline at this time. This year it is particularly evident in the Department of Justice.”