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Here are just some of the government's priorities for the months ahead

Regulating rickshaws, IVF and speeding – just some of the issues the government plan to tackle.

Image: Shutterstock/Rollingnews.ie

IT’S ONE WEEK into the Dáil term and so far TDs have debated issues such as protesting beef farmers, climate change and the public services card. 

While there was speculation over the last few months that there could be an election in the autumn, the Taoiseach has now said he wants an election in May 2020.

Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin said he wouldn’t argue over a few weeks, having previously indicated he would like to go to the polls in spring. 

With both men not pushing for a pre-Christmas election, the government has set out what it hopes to achieve in the next couple of months. 

This Dáil term is dominated by the Budget and Brexit. 

But it has other priorities too – 32 pieces of legislation, in fact. 

The priority list published this week focuses on a range of areas including the Irish language, climate action, housing and planning, healthcare, road safety, citizenship and family supports such as parental leave. 

So, what stands out on that priority list, published at the start of term? 

In terms of road safety, Transport Minister Shane Ross will be glad to see his new legislation to provide for graduated speeding penalties and other road traffic matters is on the list.

There had been some disquiet between Ross and Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan about the new law, but the minister told TheJournal.ie that he plans to get it over the line. 

Legislation to provide a regulatory regime for pedal-powered and pedal-assisted pedicabs including rickshaws will also be prioritised this Dáil term. 

On health reforms, new legislation will introduce mandatory open disclosure, extend free GP care and ensure equality of pricing regarding health insurance. 

The Assisted Human Reproduction Bill is also listed on the government’s priority list, which would deal with issues such as surrogacy in Ireland. The heads of the Bill were approved in 2017, with pre-legislative scrutiny already taken place. 

In terms of housing, the government plans to put the Land Development Agency, which was launched last year, on a statutory footing

Following on from the referendum of divorce this year, the Family Law Bill aims to reduce the minimum living apart period for spouses applying for divorce will be dealt with. The Bill will also address the implications of a no-deal Brexit for the recognition of UK divorces. 

The Justice Department also plans to deal with the High Court judgement in relation to continuous residency in the country. The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Amendment Bill is being given priority this autumn.

The government also plans to establish the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement as a stand-alone agency with a commission structure, to be called the Corporate Enforcement Authority

The revamp of the ODCE came after harsh criticism of the office after the collapse of the case against former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick.

While the government has enacted 34 Bills so far this year, hundreds of Private Members’ Bills stuck in the system.

These are Bills that are generally put forward by members of the opposition, and in the past, never made it very far due to the government having the numbers to block such Bills.

However, with ‘new politics’ at play, many of these Bills are allowed to progress forward, only to be left languishing. 

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