Record 320 Bills and inquiry into TD voting controversy lapse with dissolution of Dáil

Legislation to help ease trolley crisis through doctor training among measures that fall

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with President Michael D Higgins following  his request to dissolve the 32nd Dáil.  Photograph: Damien Eagers/PA Wire

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with President Michael D Higgins following his request to dissolve the 32nd Dáil. Photograph: Damien Eagers/PA Wire

 

Ethics investigations into the voting controversy involving three Fianna Fail TDs lapse with the dissolution of the Dáil, along with a record 320 Bills still in the legislative process.

However the inquiries could be revived in the next Dáil if the TDs - Niall Collins, Timmy Dooley and Lisa Chambers - are re-elected.

The Oireachtas has confirmed that all inquiries by the Dáil Members’ Interests Committee end along with the ending of the 32nd Dáil.

If however the TDs are returned to the Dáil following the general election the inquiries could be taken up again by the next Members’ Interests Committee, should one be established.

It would be for that committee to decide if the inquiry should be re-commenced.

The committee had not finalised its inquiry which was established after it emerged that Mr Collins voted six times for Mr Dooley who was not present in the Dáil chamber. As a result of their behaviour both TDs were fired by party leader Micheál Martin from their frontbench positions, Mr Collins as foreign affairs spokesman, and Mr Dooley as spokesman on Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

A separate complaint had been made to the committee against Ms Chambers who voted seven times while sitting in Mr Dooley’s seat, which led to the votes being attributed to him. Mr Dooley said he was in the chamber at the time.

Trolley crisis

Legislation that could have helped ease the pressure in the hospital trolley crisis is meanwhile among the Bills that lapse with the dissolution of the Dáil.

The Regulated Health Professionals Bill would have allowed doctors, mainly from outside the EU, to be included in a national professional training scheme.

Irish hospitals currently rely heavily on non-training scheme (NTS) doctors who are effectively medics not training to be consultants, who do most of the basic work but who leave after gaining some experience because there is no route to advancement in the current system.

Irish and other EU doctors are currently prioritised for the training scheme and once the NTS doctors leave they are replaced by more incoming inexperienced doctors.

The Patient Safety Bill, which provides for mandatory open disclosure where doctors have to reveal to patients if mistakes were made, also lapses.

The controversial Judicial Appointments Commission Bill to reform how judges are appointed is the most high-profile piece of legislation to fall with the dissolution of the Dáil but a record 320 Bills will lapse.

The numbers are this high because under the minority government confidence and supply arrangement much greater facility was given to individual TDs to introduce their own Bills.

The majority of Bills are private member pieces of legislation.

However, many Government-sponsored Bills are expected to be picked up by the next administration.

The Government has been considering amending road safety legislation to allow gardaí to seize and detain motocross scrambler and quad bikes. They are meant for off-road use and do not require a licence or insurance. There have been repeated attempts to introduce legislation but drafting complications raised concerns that Bills could negatively affect existing road safety legislation.

A Bill by Fianna Fáil TDs John Lahart and John Curran, which was not opposed by Government, had passed second or the introductory stage debate. The All Terrain Vehicle and Scrambler Motor-Cycle (Amendment) Bill was seen as legislation that could have been worked on with Government support but it too fell with the calling of the general election.