Decisions on Public Petitions Received

The next item on our agenda is the consideration of public petitions. We have six petitions for consideration this afternoon. Summary notes and replies from Departments and other bodies were circulated to members. I propose that the petitions considered by the committee at today's meeting and the previous meeting are published, and that the replies from the Departments and other bodies are published. Is that agreed?

Our first petition is No. 00005/21 entitled "Defective blocks - the systemic failure justification" by Ms Ann Owens. The secretariat advises that the correspondence from the Minister, Deputy Darragh O'Brien, is forwarded to Ms Owens. It advises that the Committee on Public Petitions consider this matter further once the work of the working group is complete. Do members have any views on this or do they agree with the recommendations?

I agree with the recommendations; they are excellent.

Our second petition is No. 00006/21 entitled "The right to marry" by Mr. Colm O'Keeffe.

The secretariat advises that the correspondence from the Department of Justice has been forwarded to Mr. O'Keeffe and that it has advised him that there are no plans to amend the law to provide for the indissolubility of any marriage. The secretariat further advises that the committee deems this petition closed as nothing further can be done to assist this petitioner. Do members have any view or are they in agreement with the secretariat's advice?

There is agreement on the recommendations.

Our third petition is No. P00016/21, from Carles Pujol, concerning the international investigation on the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils. The secretariat advises that the correspondence from the Department of Foreign Affairs, along with a copy of the letter received on 30 August 2019, is forwarded to Mr. Pujol and that the committee deem this petition closed as this is a matter of Spanish national sovereignty. Have members any views or are they in agreement with the secretariat's advice?

We are in agreement.

Our fourth petition is No. P00020/21, from Ms Philomena Geoghegan, stating "Why we need to dispel old illogical lunacy laws in Ireland, and which have been amended and repealed. This is not enough. They need to be put beyond use by being dispelled. They are the epitome of injustice." The secretariat advises that a letter has been drafted and will be sent, along with a copy of the correspondence from Mr. Robert Watt, once permission is given by the committee. In addition, the secretariat advises that a letter from the Department of Health be forwarded to Miss Geoghegan advising her that we will correspond with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth on her behalf. Have members any views or are they in agreement with the secretariat?

We are in agreement with the secretariat.

Our fifth petition is No. P00022/21, from Mr. Neil Copland, stating that we "Require more than a simple Majority to enact legislation that restricts the personal liberty of the population as a whole." The secretariat advises that correspondence from the Office of the Attorney General is not forwarded to Mr. Copland and the committee instead waits until a further response has been provided. Have members any view or are they in agreement with the secretariat?

We are in agreement with the secretariat.

Our final petition is No. P00025/21, on the "Request for a feasibility study on 'The Dublin Loop' underground tunnels and multipurpose adaptable autonomous electric vehicles", from Mr. Cormac McKay. The secretariat advises that correspondence from Ms Anne Graham, chief executive officer of the National Transport Authority, NTA, be forwarded to the petitioner and the committee deem this petition closed as the NTA does not propose to undertake any such study. Do members have any views or are they in agreement with the secretariat's advice?

We are in agreement with the secretariat's advice.

That concludes our consideration of public petitions. I invite members of the public to submit petitions via our online portal. A petition may be submitted to the Houses of the Oireachtas on a matter of general public concern or interest in relation to our legislative powers or the issuing of a public apology.

Do members have any final comments under any other business?

I will come in briefly. The committee, during the lifetime of this Dáil and that which preceded it, received a petition regarding unauthorised development on the Shannon Estuary. The most recent correspondence the committee received in this regard arrived more than three months ago. We have not had anything back from Meath County Council or Inland Waterways. Is there any update on that matter?

No, there is no update. We will ask to secretariat to write to Westmeath County Council - it is not Meath County Council - to ask for an update before our next meeting.

I thank the Chair. That is much appreciated.

The committee is adjourned until Thursday, 30 September 2021 at 11 a.m. for a virtual private meeting. This will be followed by a public meeting at 12.30 p.m., when we will meet the Ombudsman, Mr. Peter Tyndall.

The joint committee adjourned at 2.09 p.m. until 12.30 p.m. on Thursday, 30 September 2021.