The Government’s legislation programme for Summer 2022 lists 34 bills which are designated as being a priority and are in the process of being drafted and published. Among them is the much awaited Bill to deal with the issue of homeowners affected by “defective concrete,” chiefly Mica.
Apart from that there would appear to be a paucity of proposals to deal with stuff that most people might consider are in need of urgent attention and action. There is nothing that proposes to deal with issues such as housing, health, crime, and energy in any manner that might appear to frame government policy in the direction of addressing the practical realities facing people.
Instead, the Coalition is still clearly driven in great part by the need to tick more boxes on the “progressive” wish list. So, the only Bill from the Department of Justice listed as priority with the word “Crime” in its title is the Criminal Justice (Hate Crime) Bill, which many would argue potentially targets opinions rather than actual criminal acts which are in any event subject to existing sanctions.
There is a proposed Bill to increase sentences for conspiracy to murder and a Policing Bill which appears to lean more to social workie type objectives around the “vulnerable” – who you would have to unfortunately guess are most likely perpetrators – rather than practical measures to tackle anti social crime, drug dealing and violence which are the main concerns of communities and individuals throughout the country.
What is missing is any legislation to deal with some of the measures that were proposed recently by Minister Helen McEntee during one of her photo ops. Where are the new laws to prevent people being strangled and stalked? And other stuff that, if we are honest, was only thrown out to obscure the fact the problem is not the absence of any new laws, but of the will to enforce existing ones.
There are two Bills to address gambling and drinking; the first of which proposes to establish a gambling regulator and the second to further codify the law on the sale and consumption of alcohol. If the gambling legislation is anything like that being considered in Westminster then it will most likely entail restrictions on the vast majority of people who bet without doing any harm to anyone, in order to “protect” a small minority of people who cannot control their betting. The same theme has informed all the legal and other measures regarding alcohol.
The Government also intends to proceed with its own Safe Access to Termination of Pregnancy Services Bill which is designed to rival and possibly gazzumph the one currently making its way through the Seanad after it was proposed by some of the liberal left Senators.
This is of course after the same pattern this government and its predecessor have historically been happy to follow whereby when one of the left parties proposed a radical bill on assisted suicide, abortion, or the undermining of the existing citizenship regulations, that they either roll over and accept them, or do what was being demanded under their own steam. So this is another example most likely of the far left tail wagging the rudderless intellectually bankrupt dog (with profuse apologies to canine friends who prefer MTV to the library.)
No doubt similar considerations informed the proposal in the general scheme for a Bill on Work Life Balance to “amend the Maternity Protection Act 1994 to extend the period of calculable breastfeeding for an employee’s entitlement to time off from work or a reduction of working hours for breastfeeding and to ensure transgender males that become pregnant fall within the scope of the Act.”
How many times must it need to be pointed out that not only can males not become pregnant, but that they cannot produce milk and breastfeed? I would like to think that whoever drafted this sometimes gazes out over whatever Dublin 2 vista lies in front of their state office and perhaps ponders how in the name of Jaysus they ever came to have to pander to this sort of nonsense.
There are other items of interest which we may revisit. One is a Bill to update the employment permits regulations. This is to help to provide “flexibility” in order to address changes in the labour market. Which is obviously a response to the demand from employers and the left to liberalise the issuing of work permits to people from outside of the EU and EEA.
There is a reference in the regulatory impact to the danger that employers may take advantage of the greater access to a “low skilled migrant workforce” – the very idea! – but this is couched diplomatically with a reference to the need for employers to invest in skills and technology.
Which of course is pretty much irrelevant in the labour intensive sectors that are pressing most strongly for even greater access to low skilled and low paid non European workers. There is also reference to the need for permit holders to be “net contributors to the Irish economy” which of course brings into focus the extent to which employers are being subsidised by the taxpayer through social welfare and housing and other supports for low paid migrant workers and their families.
Another proposed Bill that will certainly be worth perusing in depth is the Amendment of Lobbying Act which will amend the existing Lobbying Act. That appears to be mainly directed at potential abuses within the private sector, so it will be interesting to see how it deals with, or even has any intention to deal with, the massive and relentless and highly effective lobbying by state funded left liberal NGOs.
Don’t hold your breath on that one….