February 11, 2021
Sinn Féin move bill which would require future regulations to be brought before Oireachtas – Pa Daly TD, David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Equality, Integration and Law Reform Pa Daly TD and Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD, have today moved a Private Members Bill to amend the Health Act 1947.

The act is the main legal instrument used by government to issue regulations related to the pandemic. The Health (Parliamentary Oversight of Certain Instruments Relating to Covid-19) Bill 2021 would require the government to bring future regulations before the Dáil and Seanad to be discussed and debated.
Teachta Daly said:

“Last September we saw a ludicrous situation where we were expected to support the criminalisation of breaches of regulations without having first seen them.

“When the details emerged, which included enquiring businesses to retain receipts on all customers, the government were forced into a u-turn. Episodes such as that do great damage to public confidence and understanding.
“The bill would require the government to be deferential towards parliament and bring any regulations for debate to the house, where they can be amended and passed with the proper support of a wider spectrum of parties and TDs.

“This would be much more logical and transparent, and continued public buy in as we hopefully emerge from the current crisis over 2021 will be incredibly important.”
Teachta Cullinane said:
“We are introducing this bill because Minister Donnelly cannot continue to have free reign over every regulation related to Covid-19.
“Regulations are constantly brought in which are either daft, such as the requirement to record what people eat, or fall far short in measure, such as the unenforceable self-quarantine.
“These regulations need open debate to ensure they are robust, enforceable, and get the job done.
“The current system of introducing measures under emergency legislation, when there has been time to conduct this business properly without side-stepping the Dáil, is not working.

“This lack of accountability is undermining the national effort.”

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