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Spotlight Series - 2017

Post-enactment scrutiny (PeS) by Parliament
No.1 of 2017 (Published in December 2017)
This Spotlight uses expert literature on legislative scrutiny, and the experience of other parliaments, to outline the purpose and potential benefits of post-enactment scrutiny, parliament’s role in post-enactment scrutiny, the conditions under which it is most likely to be effective, and how best to approach post-enactment scrutiny both with respect to the process and the actual focus of a post-enactment review.

Spotlight Series - 2016

International human rights law: operation and impact
No. 2 of 2016 (Published 9 June 2016)
This Spotlight provides an overview of the operation of international human rights law. It seeks to highlight how international human rights law impacts upon Irish law as well as the work of parliament.

Parliamentary scrutiny of government performance
No. 1 of 2016 (Published in January 2016)
This Spotlight  examines:the rationale for oversight/scrutiny, its theoretical underpinnings, tools and some of the barriers to effective parliamentary scrutiny; a model of how performance scrutiny can operate and the associated information for effective performance scrutiny; and parliamentary performance scrutiny in the Irish budgetary context focusing on the Irish Estimates process and the performance information contained within it.

Spotlight Series - 2015

Choosing Segregation? The Implications of School Choice
No. 1 of 2015 (Published in September 2015)
This Spotlight focuses on school choice and how education policy can be used to make schools more inclusive. The purpose of this Spotlight is not to debate the merits of school choice per se but to look at the effects of school choice on segregation. The Spotlight also considers the policy of divestment in this context.

Spotlight Series - 2014

Pre-legislative scrutiny (PLS) by parliament
No. 8 of 2014 (Published in December 2014)
This Spotlight uses expert literature on legislative scrutiny and the experience of scrutiny in other parliaments to outline the purpose of pre-legislative scrutiny and the conditions under which it is most likely to be effective. It considers the approaches to, and the focus of, pre-legislative scrutiny in the Houses of the Oireachtas and other parliaments before outlining some of the possible impacts.

Sanctions for Misconduct in Judicial Office
No. 7 of 2014 (Published in August 2014)
This Spotlight provides an overview of the process by which misconduct in judicial office is dealt with in Ireland and in a number of other jurisdictions. The Spotlight sets out the Constitutional position of the Irish judiciary who may only be removed from office for ‘stated misbehaviour’ or ‘incapacity’. In the vast majority of cases, there is currently no means to deal with misconduct in judicial office which does not amount to ‘stated misbehaviour’ in Ireland. For comparative purposes, this Spotlight describes the procedures for the removal and discipline of judges in other common law jurisdictions. A brief overview is also provided of the relevant procedures in Scotland and South Africa, both of which have mixed legal systems.

Issues and Context – Government Reform of Planning Legislation
No.6 of 2014 (Published July 2014)
This Spotlight provides a summary of the Mahon Tribunal’s recommendations and explores other issues which are anticipated in forthcoming legislation on planning (Planning Bill 2014 Spring/summer Legislative Programme C List).  These issues include, the introduction of a Planning Regulator, further transparency and efficiencies within the planning system, changes to Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (social and affordable housing) and the significance of Irish Water in planning matters. This Spotlight has been authored by Downey Planning.

Higher Education in Ireland
No.5 of 2014 (Published May 2014)

This Spotlight provides an overview of higher education in Ireland in the context of ongoing and proposed reforms of the sector. It provides information on a number of issues, including income and funding, enrolments, international rankings, and the experience of other countries in implementing reforms.‌

Mortgage Arrears: Level and Resolution
No.4 of 2014 (Published April 2014, revised October 2014)
This Spotlight on mortgage arrears examines the extent of mortgage arrears in Ireland as well as the various processes in place to help resolve the crisis.

Wind Energy
No. 3 of 2014 (Published April 2014)
This Spotlight firstly outlines the various renewable energy options available to us. It then focuses on wind and its contribution to electricity from renewable energy sources in Ireland. The Spotlight reviews the policy background, identifying Ireland’s renewable energy targets and considers some of the main advantages and disadvantages of wind energy. Lastly it looks at the issues of community acceptance and of what alternatives are available to us. Its intention is to provide Members with a working knowledge of the subject as opposed to detailed analysis.

Tendering for public service provision
No. 2 of 2014

This Spotlight compares and contrasts competitive tendering with other ways in which the State may provide services, outlines the EU rules surrounding public procurement and examines the considerations relevant to running a competitive tendering process. Its intention is to provide Members with a working knowledge of the subject as opposed to detailed analysis.

GPs and the Irish primary care system: towards Universal Primary Care?
No. 1 of 2014
This Spotlight provides an overview of the current role of GPs in the Irish primary care system, in the context of proposals for Universal Primary Care (UPC).  Issues addressed include data on GP workforce supply, practice organisation and GP remuneration. Irish developments are also put in the context of wider comparative primary care provision.

Spotlight Series - 2013

Responding to Youth Unemployment in Europe
No. 4 of 2013
This Spotlight outlines the extent of youth unemployment across Europe and its effects. It also outlines and assesses the evidence on policy responses across Europe, before highlighting the key messages from the research regarding the path forward.

Surrogacy, parentage and citizenship Ireland in the wider world
No. 3 of 2013 (Published May 2013)
Surrogacy is currently unregulated in Ireland, but has been the focus of case law, and of substantial media attention. Amongst the issues raised are questions around legal parentage, given the possibility of a distinction between genetic and gestational parenthood. As a consequence there is the potential for uncertainty about citizenship for children born through international surrogacy agreements. These uncertainties may have serious implications for the rights and protection of children.

Spotlight Series - Localism in Irish politics and local government reform
No. 2 of 2013 (published February 2013)
This Spotlight considers how weak local government may contribtute to localism in Irish politics and how the Government’s programme of local government reform might affect the constituency workloads of parliamentarians.

“Cash for gold”: second-hand trade in precious metals, jewellery and scrap metal
No.1 of 2013 (Published January 2013)
In Ireland, there has been anecdotal reporting of increased criminal trade in the sale of stolen precious metals, jewellery and scrap metal.  The subject area has also received attention on an international level.  In response, there has been a Private Members Bill, Parliamentary Questions, Department of Justice cash for gold report, and draft regulations on sale of scrap metal.