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Cabinet will agree on legal services Bill "when we're ready to" --- Gilmore

The Tánaiste repeatedly insisted “this is normal” in reference to the Cabinet’s progress on amendments to the legislation.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

TÁNAISTE EAMON GILMORE has been defending the Government’s work on legislation aimed at reforming the legal services sector.

Asked to comment on the lack progress in agreeing amendments, the Labour leader insisted it was something ministers were carefully working through, and repeatedly insisted “this is normal” in reference to the workings of Cabinet.

The Government were criticised by the Troika over the slow progress of the Bill, which is aimed at reducing costs in the legal sector. While it’s been reported Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s plan to allow ‘one-stop-shops’ for barristers, solicitors and accountants led to a row between Shatter and Gilmore at Cabinet last month.

Asked whether he had any problem with the idea of a ‘one-stop-shop’ on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Gilmore said “there’s nothing wrong with it, I agree with it”.

He insisted there were no differences “about the necessity to reform the legal services” and said the Government was “in absolute agreement on this”.

“We are agreed in relation to the Bill — there are amendments that are being considered at the moment — that is work that is being done in Government.”

Questioned over differences between the parties and between particular ministers, he said “there are always issues where there are issues to be discussed where agreement has to be reached”.

“That’s the normal way.”

He insisted there weren’t any problems within the coalition on the issue, and that the Cabinet was simply working carefully on the finer detail.

Discussions on amendments to the bill were due to take place at Cabinet yesterday, but were deferred to next week.

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imageTánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Justice Minister Alan Shatter, flanked by the Taoiseach and Transport Minister Leo Varadkar [Photocall Ireland]

“When you’re amending legislation it is normally the case that there are details and points that are discussed.

“That’s the normal practice of what we do — we scrutinise what is going through and we reach agreement on it.

“We do that probably on virtually any legislation.”

He said he wouldn’t comment in more detail as the matter was covered by cabinet confidentiality and said ministers would agree on the legislation “when we’re ready to reach agreement”.

“This is normal. It’s the normal thing that we do.”

Gilmore said he hoped work would be completed “very soon” but didn’t give any clearer estimate of when that might be, despite being asked several times.

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Daragh Brophy

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