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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 31 March, 2020
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Oireachtas agenda: Repossessions, organ donors and selling the Lotto

Legislation clearing the way for banks to repossess more homes will get its first airing in the Dáil this evening.

Image: bikeriderlondon via Shutterstock

WHAT ARE OUR politicians doing in the halls of Leinster House?

TheJournal.ie lets you know with our guide to what’s coming up to the Dáil and various Oireachtas committees today.

DÁIL

Tuesday means a relatively late start, with TDs given the morning to commute back to Dublin – so it’ll be 2pm before Pat Rabbitte takes Questions to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

Enda Kenny steps up for Leaders’ Questions at 3:15pm, and takes scripted Questions to the Taoiseach at 3:45pm, with debate on the Order of Business – and the firmest hint of when abortion legislation might be published (if it hasn’t been already) at 4:45 or so. Four Topical Issues are aired just after 5pm.

At just around 6pm Alan Shatter will unbox his new Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill – something which may sound dull, but actually has a pretty profound impact (See ‘One to Watch’ below).

Later, at 7:30pm, the Technical Group – led by Kerry South independent Tom Fleming – puts down a motion calling for a new national organ donor register and to introduce an opt-out scheme for organ donation rather than an opt-in approach. Debate will adjourn at 9pm and resumes tomorrow.

The day’s Dáil business can all be viewed here.

SEANAD

The Seanad’s customary 75-minute plenary on the Order of Business (2:30pm). is followed by the latest in a series of addresses by MEPs to mark 40 years of Irish membership of the European Union. Fine Gael’s Seán Kelly will discuss the role of the European Parliament in ensuring democratic legitimacy into the future at 3:45pm.

At 5:15pm Brendan Howlin visits to discuss some proposed amendments to the National Lottery Bill, which sets up a new lottery regulator in advance of the lottery licence being sold off later this year.

COMMITTEES

There are four committee meetings holding public sittings today:

  • The Fisheries joint sub-committee continutes its examination of Ireland’s marine sector, and its possible impact for tourism. Attending this week are representatives from Údarás na Gaeltachta, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the Marine Institute and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority. Proceedings begin at 2pm. (Watch here.)
  • Also at 2pm, the governor of the Central Bank, Patrick Honohan, will be at the EU Affairs committee at 2pm to discuss the Economic and Monetary Union (in real terms, ‘the future of the euro’). He’ll be joined by colleagues Patrick Brady and Colm Larkin. (Watch here.)
  • At 2:15pm officials from the Department of the Environment will attend the Environment committee to discuss the EU’s ambitious new proposal for an Environment Action Programme on moving towards a permanently sustainable environment. (Watch here.)
  • Michael Noonan’s in the Finance committee at 5pm to discuss the most recent update to EU-IMF bailout terms and conditions.

TheJournal.ie‘s One to Watch

It’s been a while coming, but today marks the debut of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill – which, as we mentioned, sounds dull but has pretty far-reaching consequences.

The Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 changed the rules around the repossession of home loans – but was found in 2011, in a major High Court ruling, to have significant deficiencies – and accidentally created a disconnect between itself and the previous law.

That meant that a home loan taken out before December 2009, but which fell into distress and moved into enforcement proceedings after that date, cannot be repossessed – meaning most homes in arrears, and which would ordinarily fall into repossession territory, have a legal insulation.

That’s good news for homeowners and those struggling to (literally) keep the roof over their heads, but something which has angered both the banks – who say they need to repossess homes to get back into profitability – and the Troika, who want resolution to these procedures as soon as possible.

This legislation from Alan Shatter resolves that gap, but will naturally prompt some ire from opposition parties as it effectively legislates to allow struggling families – possibly in their tens of thousands – be evicted from their homes.

Explainer: How does a Bill become a law?

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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