I do not know about other Deputies but I received some amendments to this Bill this morning. Will the Minister of State explain why we are asked to take amendments at such short notice?
Irish Nationality and Citizenship Bill, 1985: Report Stage.
The amendments were circulated on Monday.
On the bank holiday?
Who delivered the amendments on a bank holiday?
Some amendments were circulated on Friday but small amendments to the circulated amendments were distributed yesterday.
I understand that amendments can be small or large but we are dealing with legislation that concerns nationality and citizenship. I should like to register my objection to being asked to deal with amendments to an important piece of legislation when I received them in my post this morning. Perhaps I do not have the best postal service in the world in north county Dublin but I should like to assure the Chair that that is not my fault.
I move amendment No. 1:
1. In page 2, line 14, after "who" to insert "after the passing of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1986,”
This is purely a technical amendment to clarify the meaning of section 2 of the Bill. Section 2 inserts a proviso after paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of section 7 of the 1956 Act. Under the proviso the citizenship of people who register under section 27 shall commence only as and from the date of such registration. At present it is accepted that the citizenship of such persons dates from their date of birth or the date of the passing of the 1956 Act, whichever is the later. The purpose of the amendment I am now proposing is to protect the position of persons who register under the provisions of section 7 of the 1956 Act as it stands, that is, to ensure that the effective date of their citizenship will be their date of birth or the date of the passing of the 1956 Act, whichever is the later.
In proposing the proviso as in section 2 of the Bill it was the intention that the position of people who had already registered prior to the passing of the Bill would not be affected. The amendment now being proposed to the section is to clarify their position and to ensure that there is no change in the effective date of their citizenship. This is achieved by the insertion of the words, "after the passing of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1986".
The Bill seeks to extend to an alien man who marries an Irish woman the same rights of acquiring citizenship as would be enjoyed by an alien woman who marries an Irish man. It removes an anomaly from the existing legislation and we welcome that, but I must point to some of the possible difficulties in regard to the way the Minister is tackling the problem. We all recall that the need for the amendment was highlighted by the High Court action between Mohammed Ali Somjee and the Minister for Justice and the Attorney General. Mr. Somjee, a Pakistani who married an Irish girl, gave evidence that he had been omitted from the Irish squash team for an overseas tour because he was not an Irish citizen and he could not become one as quickly as he desired. His wife claimed that she was precluded by virtue of the 1956 Act. from conferring on her husband the benefits of Irish citizenship by virtue of her marriage to him. A male is able to confer on his alien spouse an automatic right to Irish citizenship which is not the grace and favour of the Minister for Justice.
The Bill removes the distinction between men and women in the 1956 Act and Fianna Fáil welcome this step because it provides for equal treatment for men and women. However, our concern was that in acquiring citizenship a waiting period of three years was introduced by the Minister. While there is equal treatment both parties, male or female, will have to wait three years before getting Irish citizenship. Section 2 states:
Section 7 of the Act of 1956, which relates to formalities to be complied with in certain cases, is hereby amended by the insertion of the following proviso after paragraph (b) of subsection (2):
"Provided that the citizenship of a person who is registered under section 27 shall commence only as on and from the date of such registration.".
The Minister's amendment states:
In page 2, line 14, after "who" to insert ", after the passing of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1986,".
I take it that this is a technical amendment to section 2 which would read as follows:
Provided that the citizenship of a person who, after the passing of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1986, is registered under section 27, shall commence only as and from the date of such registration...
The purpose, I take it, is to set a time from the date of the passing of the Act and to clarify the position.
It is to protect people who would have registered before that date.
I do not see any difficulty about this amendment and I am happy to accept it.
I move amendment No. 2:
In page 2, to delete lines 19 to 27 and substitute the following:
" `8.—(1) A person who is an alien at the date of that person's marriage to a person who is, or who after the marriage becomes, an Irish citizen (otherwise than by naturalisation or by virtue of this section or section 12) shall not become an Irish citizen merely by virtue of the marriage, but may do so by lodging, not earlier than three years from the date of the marriage or from the date on which the person last mentioned became an Irish citizen (otherwise than as aforesaid), whichever is the later, a declaration in the prescribed manner with the Minister, or with any Irish diplomatic mission or consular office, accepting Irish citizenship as post-nuptial citizenship: provided that—
(a) the marriage is subsisting at the date of lodgment of the declaration, and
(b) the couple are living together as husband and wife and the spouse who is an Irish citizen submits an affidavit to that effect when the declaration is being lodged.".
The main purpose of the amendment to section 3 of the Bill is to clarify the requirement that foreign spouses of Irish citizens be three years married to become entitled to Irish citizenship by post-nuptial declaration. The amendment requires that
(a) the marriage is subsisting at the date of lodgment of the declaration, and the couple are living together as husband and wife and the spouse who is an Irish citizen submits an affidavit to that effect when the declaration is being lodged.
During the Committee Stage debate the point was made that it was not clear what was meant by the phrase "provided that the marriage is subsisting at the date of lodgment of the declaration". Did this mean merely that the marriage was still in existence legally or did it mean that the marriage was an on-going one and that the couple were continuing to live together as husband and wife?
I explained during that debate that what was intended was that the marriage would have to be a viable one in the sense that the couple had not broken up but were still living together as a married couple. I accept, however, that there could be some dispute as to what the exact meaning was of the phrase "provided that the marriage is subsisting at the date of lodgment of the declaration". The amendment has been drafted with a view to making it quite clear as to what is intended. Not only will the marriage have to be in legal existence at the time of the declaration but, also, there will be a requirement that the couple are living together as husband and wife. It will be necessary for the Irish partner in the marriage to confirm by affidavit that the couple are living together as husband and wife.
I am satisfied that the requirement for post-nuptial citizenship should be a viable marriage that has been in existence for three years. I would like to point out to the House that a right is being granted to Irish citizenship in the case of the foreign husbands of Irish citizens. As I said in the House already, we should set a high value on our citizenship and, accordingly, a right to citizenship should not be given lightly. Three years has been set as the period of marriage which will give that entitlement. It is logical that the three years in question should refer to an on-going marriage and not to one that has broken up or, perhaps one that was entered into merely for the sake of gaining an entitlement to Irish citizenship after three years.
During the course of earlier debates on this Bill reference was made to some unusual cases that could arise. One such case was that of a foreigner who marries an Irish citizen, comes to Ireland, and the Irish partner to the marriage dies before three years have elapsed. In that case the foreign spouse would not be entitled to Irish citizenship by post-nuptial declaration. As I said already, this situation could be dealt with under section 16 (a) of the Act — the widow or widower could be regarded as having Irish associations and, other things being equal, acquire Irish citizenship by naturalisation.
Another case referred to was that of a couple living here whose marriage broke up after a period of less than three years and the Irish citizen wished to obtain maintenance from the foreign spouse. If the foreign spouse was not entitled to Irish citizenship by post-nuptial declaration he or she might not be able to pay the maintenance to the Irish partner as he or she would have difficulty in getting a job because of not being an Irish citizen. The point was also made that a similar difficulty could arise if the couple are living in Ireland and before the end of the three year period the Irish spouse goes off with somebody else. The foreign partner is left trying to support the children of the marriage and he or she cannot get Irish citizenship and as a consequence cannot get a job. What does a person in this predicament do? I am satisfied that these types of cases could also be considered under section 16 of the Act. Paragraph (e) provides that the normal conditions for naturalisation may be dispensed with if the applicant is married to a person who is an Irish citizen otherwise than by naturalisation. If the marriage has been terminated legally the case could be considered under section 16 (a) — Irish association.
The argument was made that there should be an automatic right to Irish citizenship if the Irish spouse died within three years of the marriage. I do not agree that there should be such a right. Other EC countries do not give a right of citizenship to foreign spouses of their nationals: what most of them provide is that foreign spouses may get naturalisation in more favourable conditions than applicants for naturalisation generally. Naturalisation is not given as a matter of right; it is at the discretion of the State. We are conferring a right after three years marriage. In giving a right we are being more accommodating than most other EC states. Three years has been set as the benchmark for the right. I am satisfied that we should adhere to the three years in all cases. Unusual cases, such as those that have been mentioned in debates on this Bill, can be considered in the context of naturalisation and, specifically, under section 16.
To sum up, I am satisfied that the three years marriage requirement must mean a marriage that has lasted for three years and is a viable one. The unusual cases that have been mentioned do not come within that criterion. These situations can be met, however, by considering them under section 16 of the Act. I am satisfied that this is the way these unusual cases should be dealt with rather than by providing for exceptional circumstances under section 8.
There is one other point which was brought up in earlier debates to which I would like to refer. This is the position of foreign husbands of Irish citizens and the fact that they may be refused permission to enter into or remain in the State. The general position is that husbands of Irish citizens have no difficulty in being admitted to the State or being allowed to stay here. The fact that they are married to Irish citizens does not give them a right to be here but it would be taken into account in the consideration of their cases.
There are cases from time to time, however, of foreign husbands being refused permission to land or permission to stay. Mention was made of some court cases where permission to stay or to land was refused. I am satisfied that a careful reading of those court cases supports the policy of not giving an absolute right to foreign husbands to enter or remain in the State. One of these related to a case where the alien was involved in serious crime. Another related to a case where the Irish wife had obtained a barring order against her husband and she did not want him to come to her house. The views of the courts on those cases are worth reading. In my view they support the policy of not giving a right of entry to the State to foreign husbands or an absolute right to stay. The cases where admission was refused were extreme cases and the negative decisions on them were fully justified. The majority of cases involving foreign husbands are, of course, straightforward and result in permission to stay or to enter the State being given.
There are also two technical amendments to the section as in the Bill. Their purpose is to clarify the meaning of the section. The first technical amendment deals with a situation where a person who is not an Irish citizen marries a person who is also not an Irish citizen but one of them subsequently exercises his or her right to obtain Irish citizenship by registration under section 27. The amendment provides that in such a case the alien spouse will have the same right to post-nuptial citizenship as he or she would if his or her spouse had been Irish at the time of the marriage. When the original section 3 of the Bill was being drafted it was the intention that this should be the case. However, it is not absolutely clear from the wording of the section that the section would apply in such circumstances and, accordingly, the purpose of the amendment I am now proposing is to ensure that the alien spouse of an Irish person who becomes Irish by registration subsequent to the marriage, will be able to obtain Irish citizenship by post-nuptial declaration.
The second technical amendment provides that the spouse of a person who is an Irish citizen by virtue of this section or section 12 of the 1956 Act will not be entitled to citizenship by post-nuptial declaration. Again this is a matter of clarification. This situation could arise where a person who is Irish by post-nuptial declaration marries again. His or her spouse would not be entitled to post-nuptial citizenship.
I am glad the Minister has given such thought to what I said earlier. At the time I was trying to be as helpful as possible and I am glad the Minister has looked into the points so thoroughly and has come up with an amendment to tighten the matter up. The amendment will overcome some of the weaknesses which we discovered on Committee Stage.
There is a basic question that must be considered, namely, the introduction of the three year waiting period after a couple marry. On Committee Stage I pointed out some of the anomalies that could arise as a result. I referred to the fact that the Minister has included a new clause which provides that the entitlement to automatic citizenship to be enjoyed by a spouse will not take effect earlier than three years after the date of marriage, provided that the marriage is still subsisting at the time of declaration. At the time I said that presumably that safeguard was included to provide against marriages of convenience. The three year waiting period is a new provision for this country. The Minister has excused that by saying that other European countries use this provision, that it is the most frequently used arrangement. I proposed that we take another approach. At the moment a woman coming to Ireland can automatically become a citizen on marriage to an Irishman and I said that since we have not experienced serious problems with regard to that provision why not extend the right to both spouses, thus bringing about the equality on which all of us are agreed and which we are happy to provide.
It is a consequence of the three year waiting period that the various anomalies have arisen. It would be reasonable to provide that period if there was experience of serious difficulties with the alternative arrangement that has been in existence but that has not been the case. Now the Minister talks about a subsisting and viable marriage, but how does one define that? If the foreign spouse who wants to become an Irish citizen and who has settled here is not the partner who defaults or who in causing the difficulties, why should that party not have the right of citizenship?
There has been talk about the practice obtaining in European countries. We should remember the view we take of marriage under our Constitution. We regard marriage as a very important institution and regard the family based on marriage as antecedent to and superior to all positive law. The State undertakes to guard and defend marriage and presumably that would apply to marriages of the kind we are talking about here because they would also be marriages within the State. We take a very serious view of marriage in this country, we provide a great deal of support for it and we should not be ashamed of that fact. It may well be something that has developed here over the years but nevertheless it is the way we have treated marriage up to now. Therefore, should we not recognise the importance of marriage and grant citizenship at the same time? We could have done that and we could have provided the safeguards in a different way to cover the defaulters and those who become problem people.
On Committee Stage we tabled an amendment stating that a person who was an alien at the date of marriage to an Irish citizen should not become an Irish citizen merely by virtue of the marriage but could do so by lodging a declaration with the Minister in the prescribed manner or with any diplomatic mission or consular office at any time after the marriage, accepting Irish citizenship as post-nuptial citizenship. We proposed that we should continue in the direction we had been taking, but we also proposed that we should give equality in the treatment of both spouses. To deal with the more exceptional cases — and it seems very clear from the evidence of the Minister that they are the exception — we proposed an amendment stating that, where a person enters a contract of marriage solely or primarily for the purpose of enabling one of the parties to acquire post-nuptial citizenship and who knowingly gives or makes a misleading or false statement for the purpose of enabling such citizenship to be acquired he or she shall be guilty of an offence. We also said a penalty should be imposed for that office.
That was the other approach, namely, to regard marriage as normal and as an institution to which many precedents are attached. We said we should not just turn to our European partners and take the same action as they do. As a neutral country we should be able to decide how to behave and perhaps our example might even be followed by them in due course.
In any event, the Minister has decided not to pursue this line and instead she proposes to introduce the three year waiting period. As I pointed out earlier, this will not make Mr. Somjee any happier. At that time the Minister offered him a two-year waiting period and it is obvious we have done nothing to solve his problem which brought this question to light. The words used by the Minister are subject to various interpretations and they will cause anomalies and difficulties. Quite possibly more difficulties will be experienced as a result of taking this line. Now the Minister is attempting to tighten up the situation to deal with the question of what would be regarded as a viable and subsisting marriage. The Minister has admitted there will be problems. For instance, a foreign spouse who marries here and who is left a widow or a widower within the three-year period will not have an automatic right to citizenship. That is very sad. On the grounds of compassion one should say that such a person in those circumstances should automatically have citizenship if they so wish. The Minister has said this should be available under section 16 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956. Under that Act, the Minister may, if he thinks fit, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation where an applicant is of Irish descent or Irish association. The Minister is prepared to recognise that this spouse had taken on an Irish association by marrying an Irish person and that spouse is now dependent on the grace and favour of the Minister — albeit the Minister says there is a clause which should be in favour of that individual. In my view, when dealing with such an important area as marriage, this is the wrong way to go about it. This highlights the problem created by the direction the Minister has chosen to take. Having gone along that road, we have no alternative but to do what the Minister is proposing, that is to delete lines 19 to 27 in page 2 and substitute the following:
8.—(1) A person who is an alien at the date of that person's marriage to a person who is, or who after the marriage becomes, an Irish citizen (otherwise than by naturalisation or by virtue of this section or section 12) shall not become an Irish citizen merely by virtue of the marriage, but may do so by lodging, not earlier than three years from the date of the marriage or from the date on which the person last mentioned became an Irish citizen (otherwise than as aforesaid), whichever is the later, a declaration in the prescribed manner with the Minister, or with any Irish diplomatic mission or consular office, accepting Irish citizenship as post-nuptial citizenship: provided that—
This is where the Minister introduces a clause to cover some of the anomalies which could arise:
(a) the marriage is subsisting at the date of lodgment of the declaration, and—
This means the marriage would have to be recognised as being legally in existence—
(b) the couple are living together as husband and wife and the spouse who is an Irish citizen submits an affidavit to that effect when the declaration is being lodged.
This tends to give one partner a strength which is denied the other. By accepting the line the Minister is pursuing and by not recognising the marriage as it should be recognised at the outset this clause is more or less inevitable.
We spoke earlier about the anomalies which can arise. If the Irish partner dies the spouse who comes from another country does not have the automatic right to citizenship. If the Irish spouse deserts his family, there is no longer a subsisting marriage. Paragraph (a) relates to the referendum and paragraph (b) covers the case where the couple are not living together. If the Irish partner deserts his spouse, she will have to fall back on the grace and favour of the Minister because it is not a subsisting marriage since the couple are not living together as husband and wife. That creates a difficulty for the alien spouse.
Let us take the case of an American marrying an Irish citizen, setting up a business and raising a family in Ireland. If the Irish partner dies, immediately the American partner will be in difficulties and presumably will have to wait three years because under this legislation he "shall not become an Irish citizen merely by virtue of the marriage, but may do so by lodging, not earlier than three years from the date of the marriage or from the date on which the person last mentioned became an Irish citizen... a declaration in the prescribed manner with the Minister..." What will be her position in the meantime? It will be dependent on the grace and favour of the Minister.
The Minister says that by establishing an Irish association it will be possible for the alien spouse to appeal. I hope the person concerned will be fully informed of his or her rights and that he or she will not be rushed into making decisions. As I understand it, it would be the wish of this House that in such circumstances that spouse should have every right to remain here as an Irish citizen. In this amendment the Minister is trying to provide a remedy for some of the difficulties which I foresaw on Committee Stage, but in my view we are dealing with this problem in a patchwork fashion. It would be better if we recognised the marriage, as we have always done, and dealt with the exceptions because experience shows that there are very few exceptions.
Let us look at the case of Americans and their rights when they marry Irish citizens. If a man here takes an American wife she gets the automatic right to citizenship at present on application. In bringing in equal treatment then the simple way would be to give an American husband of an Irish woman the same right on application. I suggested earlier that that is the way we should do it but the Minister's proposal introduces a three year waiting period, and the question then is that some of these anomalies will develop.
There is not much more I can say about this. Naturally, we are concerned, just as the Minister is concerned, about the possibility of marriages of convenience, but with the lack of evidence of this happening and the fact that clearly it would be more the exception than the rule, especially given the close ties we have with the US as an example, it would seem more reasonable to give the right of citizenship in the normal way that applies at the moment. The Minister has decided to go the other way and in this amendment she is attempting to deal with some of the questions raised on Committee Stage.
In so far as it goes we support the Minister's approach but I still feel that it only tends to isolate the fact that we are not showing the same regard for this marriage from the outset, from the time when the marriage takes place. Some of our European partners build in a waiting period for three years, but why should we have a similar provision? Why should we leave a couple who are happily married in a bona fide way under that question mark for as long as three years, especially since the Minister was disposed previously in circumstances like that to allow only a two year waiting period? Why should these people be pushed on to a three year delay?
I do not think it very desirable. It is not good enough to say that just because some or most of our European partners build in that kind of delay we should have the same kind of delay. I say that for two reasons. One is that we have always been a much more open society, particularly open to comings and goings from the USA and from Great Britain, of course. Secondly, we have always taken a very special view of marriage and of the place of marriage in our society and in our Constitution. On that basis we have a very high regard for marriage. I know that, irrespective of present circumstances, the referendum and whatever, the Minister and the vast majority of Irish people want to maintain that high regard and place for marriage and the family in the Constitution. On that basis then, on the logic and thinking in relation to marriage and the Constitution, we should accord the citizenship, if not immediately on marriage, certainly at a much earlier stage than after a three year waiting period. Be that as it may, the Government have decided to follow this line and in doing that the Minister has attempted to remedy some of the difficulties we discussed on Committee Stage. On that basis I will not oppose the amendment.
This legislation is aimed at regularising the granting of post-nuptial citizenship to the foreign spouses of Irish citizens. We are dealing with it in the context of the requirements of 1986. The basic Bill was drafted and drawn up for social conditions, labour mobility and, I suppose, the fifties situation in so far as women were concerned. The more I deal with this Bill the more I must question the thinking of the fifties in so far as the special provision was built in only for the husband, the Irish man, the citizen. I am quite sure that in the fifties as many Irish women as Irish men were emigrating and marrying foreign spouses but that feature did not seem to be taken into account at all. Therefore, I feel that the approach of this legislation is the correct one. It hits the right balance, recognising the need to protect our citizenship and at the same time affording just and equitable treatment for those foreign spouses who marry Irish citizens. I remind the Deputy that we are talking about extending citizenship as a right — not naturalisation — to the spouses, regardless of whether husband or wife, of Irish citizens on the basis of three years' marriage, not two years' residence as it is at present for foreign husbands. That is an important point that I suggest to the Deputy. On Committee Stage he was proposing an amendment to the effect that citizenship should be automatic for both parties after marriage, and then he was proposing that penalties should be dictated for fraudulent application, incorrect evidence or whatever. I suggest that that would be extremely difficult to ascertain and establish for a marriage that could have happened anywhere in the world. How would you establish whether the evidence or the information provided were accurate and correct? I am very happy that we were able to go back on the section and elaborate on it as we have done in subsection (1) (b) of the amendment because Deputy Woods and Deputy Shatter brought up that point and I feel that it meets the requests that were made in the debate.
Let me deal further with the issue of the widow or widower where the Irish citizen, the husband and wife, would have died within the three year period. I have no doubt that such a situation would be dealt with very benevolently and justly by any Minister for Justice.
Is the amendment agreed?
Let me say very briefly that when the Minister mentions the question of fraudulent——
The Deputy may ask a question.
Will the Minister recognise that she is using an affidavit from the Irish spouse in her own amendment here and obviously something of that nature could even be applied? I am not arguing the point any further.
If these marriages were happening abroad there would be that provision. That discretion could be applied.
I move amendment No. 3:
In page 4, between lines 13 and 14, to insert the following:
"7. —Section 21 of the Act of 1956 is hereby amended by the substitution of the following subsection for subsection (1):
`(1) If an Irish citizen of full age is or is about to become a citizen of another country and for that reason desires to renounce citizenship, he or she may do so, if ordinarily resident outside the State, by lodging with the Minister a declaration of alienage in the prescribed manner, and, upon lodgment of the declaration or, if not then a citizen of that country, upon becoming such, shall cease to be an Irish citizen."'.
This is an amendment that was highlighted by the Deputy. Its purpose is to insert a new section 21 for the existing section 21 of the 1956 Act. The only difference between the proposed section 21 and the existing section 21 is that the phrase "or a married woman under that age" is being omitted from the proposed section and the words "who is either" are also being omitted because they are unnecessary in the proposed section. The existing section deals with the renunciation of citizenship by an Irish citizen "who is either of full age or a married woman under that age".
The Age of Majority Act, 1985, has made the reference to a married woman under that age unnecessary as the definition of full age in that Act refers to a person who is 18 years of age or who, if under 18 years of age, is married. Accordingly, the amendment I now propose does not make any difference to the meaning of the section as, when considered in the light of the Age of Majority Act, 1985, it would be the same as under the revised wording now proposed. However, I have given further consideration to the matter and I accept the thinking behind the amendment proposed by Deputy Woods. I agree that the reference to "woman" in the existing section seems out of place in the context of a Bill, the objective of which is to eliminate differentiation based on sex. Therefore, I am satisfied that an amendment should be made.
I wish to thank the Minister for looking in such a constructive way at my proposal. While we may have differences in regard to some aspects of the Bill we have co-operated on many points. I appreciate that there are difficulties and that we must decide where the balance lies in a particular case. We disagreed in regard to the balance in the three year waiting period as it is a longer time than I would wish to see. However, on Committee Stage I proposed that this amendment should be made to section 17 of the 1956 Act. I welcome the fact that the Minister consulted her officials and decided to make an amendment along these lines.
I should like to refer to the Minister's remarks in relation to the general requirements of the eighties as distinct from the fifties. Circumstances change and it is desirable to look at our Acts and the language in which they are couched. I did not do an exhaustive study of the 1956 Act but it was clear that other parts of it need to be updated and perhaps the Minister would consider this in due course. Very often the introduction of change, such as that proposed here, brings our minds to bear on a variety of other things which need to be done in regard to an Act.
Naturally I am happy to support this amendment since I proposed a broadly similar one on Committee Stage. I was pressed at the time to take the remaining stages together but, as a matter of principle, I did not want to do that because it is necessary to have a break between Committee and Report Stages so that if the Minister, after consultation with her officials, feels that something raised on Committee Stage needs to be dealt with, she can make an appropriate amendment in the circumstances. That is why it is so important to separate Committee and Report Stages. It is often said that it can be considered further in the Seanad but I do not think that is desirable. The acceptance of this amendment is a good example of constructive debate. I know it takes time and trouble and that no one will be over-enthusiastic or excited about this measure but, nevertheless, there is an onus on us to debate it fully. Naturally, I am happy to support this amendment.