No shortage of loose ends for Coalition as summer break beckons

For Bills that do not make it over the line before the election, Opposition will target Government for not fulfilling commitments

Leinster House: As the political system begins to wind down, keep an eye on a few live issues this week that emerged on Tuesday. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien

With the summer break beckoning, the Oireachtas is powering through the traditional clearing of the legislative decks. However, there is no shortage of loose ends as the Coalition stares down the barrel of what could be the final chance to pass legislation when it sits again in the autumn. Make no mistake, some things are being tied down: Heather Humphreys’s tiered social welfare payments legislation has been sent to the President for his signature, but the Opposition will be keeping tabs on what doesn’t get done - or what will be politically contentious to pass - in the limited time remaining.

The most high profile pieces of legislation still under way are the Hate Speech Bill, currently in limbo as the Government decides what amendments to put down in an effort to clear this polarising hurdle, and the mammoth planning Bill, which the Government has been accused of ramming through. Both of those will bleed through into the autumn.

Opposition spokespeople are also keeping tabs on a range of areas, including the Sale of Alcohol and Gambling Regulation Bills, legislation governing the remediation of defective apartment buildings and marine protected areas (which will have an impact on offshore wind), safeguarding legislation, implementing the review of the termination of pregnancy Act, plans to ban flavoured and single use vapes and the Health Information Bill, which paves the way for the use electronic patient records, among other targets.

It might be a stretch to say each one is a potential landmine, but for Bills that don’t make it over the line before the election, the Opposition will target the Government for not making good on its commitments. Conversely, tackling the loose ends will invite controversy as well - most notably hate speech laws and the review of the termination of pregnancy Act.


As the political system begins to wind down, keep an eye on a few live issues this week that emerged on Tuesday.

The Thalidomide Association of Ireland is keeping its counsel over a statement from Coalition leaders saying sorry for the hardships they and their families have suffered. It will be Friday before they break their silence. The survivors had been seeking fresh engagement about a State apology and compensation package.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach has promised to intervene in the case of Tori Towey, a Roscommon woman reportedly detained in Dubai. Her case was raised by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, who told the Dáil that Ms Towey had been the victim of domestic violence and has been banned from travel over allegations she illegally consumed alcohol and attempted suicide.

Best reads

The Summer Economic Statement was the political centre of gravity on Tuesday. Read Harry McGee’s take on the economics and politics of setting the guardrails for the budget.

The In The News podcast runs the rule over the French election results.

Lara Marlowe is writing on the same topic - the French election.

Mark Paul on the ‘first day of school’ vibes as Westminster reconvenes after the UK general election.

Miriam Lord is writing on Michael Healy-Rae’s impassioned takedown of abuse on social media - a rare moment of unanimity in the Dáil.


Action in the Dáil begins shortly after 9am with topical issues, before the Social Democrats motion on a zero tolerance approach to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. Leaders’ Questions is at midday, ahead of Questions on Policy or Legislation.

The afternoon’s main events will be Taoiseach’s Questions at 1.15pm, while the rush of legislation going through the Dáil in the last week of term continues in the evening.

The full schedule is here.

The Seanad is sitting from 10.30am, and is dealing with legislation on Health, Civil Registration, and the Digital Services Levy across the day. There are statements on migration at 4pm.

Find the full Seanad schedule here.

In the committee rooms, the enterprise committee is hearing from unions, experts and employers on sub minimum rates of the national minimum wage at 9.30am. At the same time, the health committee is hearing from Colm Burke on the issue of childhood obesity.

In the afternoon, the transport committee is hearing from the NTA on sustainable travel, while the media committee is hearing from bodies on freedom and security of the press in areas of conflict.

The Summer Economic Statement takes centre stage at 5.30pm at the Committee on Budgetary Oversight, with Jack Chambers and Paschal Donohoe in attendance. The agriculture committee will be hearing about compliance with the nitrates directive from the EPA while Anne Rabbittee will be updating the disability matters committee on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Here’s the full rundown of committee hearings.

Off campus, Darragh O’Brien will be at a Focus Ireland event on Prussia Street at 11am, while Minister of State for Older People Mary Butler will be at the Gibson Hotel at the same time launching the Healthy Age Friendly Homes Programme. At 10.30am Minister for Enterprise Peter Burke will be launching the National Enterprise Hub for SMEs in Trinity Business School.

In the morning, the Electoral Commission will launch its research programme for the next two years setting out its plans for research on Ireland’s democracy and areas of reform. That’s at 10am. Lowering the voting age and the publication of candidates’ addresses on ballot papers are among the topics to be examined.

In the evening, it is the last round of parliamentary party meetings before the Oireachtas breaks up for the summer.

On the protest front, a Save Tallaght Post Office group will be outside the Dáil at lunchtime. In the morning, Ukrainian Action in Ireland is holding a protest at 10am on Kildare Street following the recent bomb attacks on hospitals in Kyiv.

A portrait of the late senator Billy Fox will be unveiled in Leinster House at 3pm.

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