Speaking the Dáil this morning, Sinn Féin Justice spokesman, Martin Kenny TD called on the Minister for Justice to find out who was responsible for the omission of Chapter 3 of the Civil Law and Criminal Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2020 from a request for waiver of pre-legislative scrutiny.
When asking the Minister if this was her decision, Deputy Kenny said that if it were not, she should find who was responsible in her department and that person should be removed from their position.
Deputy Kenny was referring to a section of the bill which allowed for banking documents, previously regarded as hearsay, to be taken as evidence in court. This was labelled as ‘a boon’ to the vulture funds by mortgage holders’ representatives.
Deputy Kenny said:
“The Minister was here when the debate happened. No speaker from Government or the Opposition spoke in favour of Chapter 3. Everybody said it should be deferred. Everybody in the legal profession to whom I spoke said there was no urgency with this particular issue. Despite this, it was included in the Bill.
“I want to know who decided to do that because, quite frankly, somebody in the Department of Justice and Equality had to have decided to do it and to slip it in without the Minister noticing.
“That person should be sacked as they are responsible to this House, not just to the Minister.
“Somebody has to be held accountable when this sort of situation arises. It is totally wrong to break trust at a time when everyone in the country is working together against the Covid virus to ensure our communities and citizens are protected.
“It is totally outrageous. It was outrageous when it happened over the summer and that has not changed; it is still outrageous.
“If the Minister is saying that it was not her who decided to omit this then she should find out who did and hold them to account.”