The upcoming Budget, health reforms, climate action and family friendly measures are among the top priorities for the Government’s legislative agenda for the new Dáil term.
The Legislative Programme which I published today, has been drawn up following consultation with ministers, senior officials from across Government and the Office of the Attorney General. It was approved at this morning’s Cabinet meeting.
The Priority List comprises 32 bills from 13 government departments which will be progressed during the autumn/winter Dáil term along with 27 other bills currently at various stages in the legislative process at the Dáil and Seanad.
The Priority List 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. Bills will be progressed across the following priority policy areas:
- Budget 2020: the Finance Bill and the Social Welfare Bill will give effect to measures announced in the Budget
- Health reforms: new legislation will introduce mandatory open disclosure, extend free GP care and ensure equality of pricing regarding health insurance
- Irish language: the Official Languages Bill will overhaul the provision of services in Irish
- Climate Action: legislation is being introduced to finance climate action measures from surplus oil levy funds and reform marine planning for sustainable development and renewable energy
- Housing: the Land Development Agency will be placed on a statutory footing
- Helping families and parents: paid parental leave will be introduced through legislation for the first time
- Road safety: new legislation will provide for graduated speeding penalties and other road traffic matters
So far this year we have enacted 34 bills which we will add to with the 32 bills on the Priority list and the 27 bills that are currently at various stages before the Dáil and Seanad.
Several bills on the Priority List are important for our preparations for Brexit including the Family Law (Divorce) Bill and the Health and Childcare Support Bill which will enable healthcare and childcare benefits to continue on a cross-border basis.
Aside from the bills on the Priority List, the Government is continuing work on 27 bills that are currently before the Houses of the Oireachtas which relate to areas such as extending social welfare supports to the self-employed, increasing the supply of housing, protecting the environment, such as the Microbeads Prohibition Bill, supporting local journalism, supporting children and young people in care, and supporting persons with a disability.
Despite the significant challenge of Brexit, the Legislation Programme demonstrates that this Government is committed to passing meaningful legislation that supports citizens and communities across Ireland. Bills enacted between now and Christmas will join the 137 bills that have completed the legislative journey since this Government came to office in May 2016.