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Chief whip Paul Kehoe (right), with James Reilly: Kehoe has published a list of 26 bills the government expects to bring forward in the coming term. Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
The Law

26 bills - but no referendums - on government's list of Spring bills

The government’s draft agenda for the Dáil’s spring term includes 26 bills to be published, and another 25 currently in draft.

THE GOVERNMENT has published its proposed legislative agenda for the Dáil’s spring session – listing 26 bills which the government expects to publish in the coming months.

The list of 26 bills was agreed by Cabinet at its meeting this morning, and is accompanied by a list of a further 25 bills which have been agreed upon in principle, and which are likely to be published later in the year.

Though bills which would lead to referendums on the rights of the child and on abolishing the Seanad feature in the list, the government’s list reveals that neither bill has been agreed on by the cabinet yet.

Among the bills expected to be published this term include bills to update animal welfare legislation, to give legal effect to the ‘Children First’ programme, the dissolution of the Civil Defence Board, to establish a fund for former residents of residential institutions, and to levy tax on online betting.

Other bills will include the Fiscal Responsibility Bill – which will provide a legal limit for the size of a budget deficit the government can incur – and the Finance Bill, which gives effect to the tax changes from Budget Day.

Legislation formally ratifying the EU’s permanent bailout fund, abolishing the board of the HSE, making it a crime to withhold details of crimes against children, and allowing a convicted person to withhold details of their crimes if it falls into certain categories, also appears.

Government chief whip Paul Kehoe, who published the list, said the Fine Gael-Labour coalition had taken office on the basis of “an ambitious Programme for Government”, which would be furthered by today’s programme.

The government has published 46 bills since it came to office last year, and has gotten 35 pieces of legislation – including some which were inherited from the previous Fianna Fáil-Green Party coalition.

Another 26 bills are currently making their way through the Oireachtas – six of those in the Seanad.

Under the current government, the Dáil sat for 99 days between March and December – compared with 79 during the same window of 2010.

Read: The government’s full legislative agenda for Spring 2012 (PDF) >

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