Criminal Evidence Bill, 1992: Report Stage.

Before commencing the Report Stage of the Criminal Evidence Bill, 1992, the Minister of State must move a motion which refers to a situation where there is for Report Stage an amendment in the Minister's name which is identical to an amendment which was put and was lost on Committee Stage. In these circumstances it is necessary for the Minister of State to move that Standing Order No. 104 shall not apply to the amendment which now appears in the Minister's name.

I move:

That Standing Order No. 104 shall not apply to amendment No. 45 which appears in my name and to consequential amendments Nos. 47 and 48 set down for Report Stage of the Criminal Evidence Bill, 1992.

Not yet. The Minister is now moving an amendment which is identical to one the Government voted against on Committee Stage. As the Minister is a new Minister I would point out to him the folly of not taking on board constructive amendments with no political hidden agenda which are brought forward by Opposition Deputies on Committee Stage of a technical Bill. It was open to the Minister to accept this amendment on Committee Stage. It seems that the only reason it was not accepted was because it came from this side of the House. If that is the approach to be adopted on future legislation from the Department of Justice, we on this side of the House might as well just take our leave of the House, go out and enjoy the summer sunshine and leave the Minister to his folly of producing defective legislation. We did a service in proposing an amendment which could have been taken on board on Committee Stage. The Fianna Fáil and Progressive Democrat Parties who are portraying themselves as having an interest in Dáil reform voted against it just because it came from this side of the House. Now we have to have a motion such as the one before the House to allow the Minister to table the same amendment for whatever ministerial ego trip one goes on in moving an amendment in one's own name instead of accepting an amendment in someone else's name. I hope that if ever I find myself on the opposite side of the House I will adopt a more constructive approach to amendments tabled by Deputies, so that I will not have to look foolish coming in on Report Stage and having to do what the Minister has to do today. I agree with the motion. I just regret that we have to engage in this sort of political play acting in this Chamber. We seemed, some time ago, to have risen about it. However, in the context of what happened with this very minor amendment, although its workings are important, we descended again to the sort of approach that appeared to have been brushed aside. I hope the Minister has learned his lesson from this. I do not say that in a schoolmasterish way or in any way to try to score a point. I am simply saying that if the Opposition side table constructive amendments that bear no political malice, have no hidden agenda and are not designed to embarrass anybody the Minister should give them more reasonable consideration.

I appreciate that the Minister has now recognised the need for this amendment and is inserting it in the Bill. As we go through the afternoon I will be saying nice things about him as he has taken on board quite a number of the proposals we sought to tease out on Committee Stage. I welcome the fact that this is happening. It shows that this particular item should not have been necessarily dealt with in this way.

I will comment very briefly on Deputy Shatter's remarks as I do not wish to delay the proceedings of the House. The Deputy adverted to the fact that I am new to this portfolio, which is indeed true. However, as he has not yet occupied ministerial office, I prefer to seek advice elsewhere. The fact is that I accepted the substance and logic of his argument when he proposed his amendment. I did not refuse to accept it on the basis of political points scoring or because it was an Opposition amendment. I refused to accept it because I believed the matter would have to be re-examined by the parliamentary draftsman. The parliamentary draftsman is entitled to consider any legislation we are going to pass into law before it becomes part of the law. In so far as Opposition amendments are concerned, Deputy Shatter will recognise — as he acknowledged — that many Opposition suggestions have been taken on board. Some amendments could not be accepted as proposed and had to be redrafted. However, many of the constructive suggestions made by both Deputies Shatter and McCartan, and Members of the Labour Party, have been taken on board. The input of the Opposition is reflected in the Government amendments and will be reflected in the Bill when it is passed by both Houses.

I welcome the fact that the Minister has tabled this amendment which reflects the amendment put forward by the Opposition on Committee Stage on what is, as Deputy Shatter said, a relatively minor matter which nevertheless affects the operation of the Bill. The Minister has been prepared to adopt proposals and suggestions from the Opposition benches in this legislation which is regarded as a milestone in the development of our criminal law.

I am substituting for Deputy McCartan who has been held up at another meeting. I hope the co-operation the Minister has shown to date will continue during the course of Report Stage.

We had a wholesome debate heretofore and I would not like any note of acrimony to enter at this stage, but I do not think that is the Deputy's intention. I am putting the motion as moved by the Minister.

Question put and agreed to.
Bill recommitted in respect of amendment No. 1.

I advise the House that unlike a Report Stage debate, there is not the same limitation on contributions in the case of recommittal.

Let me advise the House also that amendments Nos. 24, 40, and 43 are related, amendment No. 25 is an alternative to 24, and it is proposed, therefore, for discussion purposes to take amendments Nos. 1, 24, 25, 40 and 43 together. Is that agreed? Agreed.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 3, line 17, after "in particular," to insert "any of the provisions of".

This amendment is consequential on amendment No. 24. The substantive amendment is amendment No. 24. Amendment No. 25 is an alternative to amendment No. 24 and amendments Nos. 1, 40 and 43 are consequential. Therefore, it would be more appropriate to discuss the substance of amendment No. 24 when we reach it. As it is necessary to amend section 1 as a consequence of amendment No. 24 to section 12 we can discuss it in this context.

Amendment No. 24 proposed to extend the category of witnesses who may give evidence through a live television link. As section 12 (1) stands, the category is limited to witnesses under 17 years of age and other witnesses who are mentally handicapped. Obviously, the trauma of having to give evidence in open court in the presence of a person who is accused of psychical or sexual abuse would be considerable for such people and the section makes it the norm that they should give evidence by television link. It does this by allowing the evidence to be given in this way unless the court sees good reason to the contrary, an example of this would be where a 16 year old is accused of assaulting another 16 year old in a brawl, but, in certain cases, I can see that the evidence might be given through a television link. The could be other cases when witnesses over 17 who are not mentally handicapped could be equally traumatised by a court appearance involving a confrontation with the accused. I am thinking particularly of the victims of rape and other serious assaults whether of a sexual nature or otherwise. In my view it would be wrong not to provide for extending the facility to such vulnerable witnesses. Indeed, there was support for doing so on Second Stage.

I do not think that the giving of evidence by such witnesses through a TV link should be the norm as it is provided to be for those under 17 or mentally handicapped witnesses. This should be left to the court to determine in each case. The amendment provides that the leave of the court should be necessary before evidence through a television link is authorised. In the normal situation, as provided for in the Bill, as initiated, the facility of a television link would be the norm for witnesses under 17 years of age and it would operate unless the court saw good reason to act to the contrary.

When witnesses over the age of 17 are properly allowed to give evidence through the mechanism of a television link, the court must direct its mind to whether it would be appropriate to allow such witnesses to give evidence in this way; in other words it will not be automatic as the court will decide in each case.

On Deputy Shatter's amendment No. 25, I made it clear when this amendment was being discussed on Committee Stage that the intention of the section was that in these cases of physical or sexual abuse it would be the norm to use a live television link when witnesses were under 17 years of age or mentally handicapped. That was also the view of the Law Reform Commission when it said that: "The use of close circuit television should be the rule, unless the court for a special reason decides otherwise". To give effect to this intention, the section speaks of evidence being given by television link in those cases unless the court sees good reason to the contrary. That is a very clear indication to the courts of what we want them to do as a result of this legislation. In my view it is much clearer than the interests of justice formula suggested by Deputy Shatter, although we cannot predict how these things would be interpreted. At the end of the day the two of them may amount to the same thing. We are following closely the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission in relation to witnesses under the age of 17 and we are trying to bring about a situation where it would be the norm that they be allowed the facility of giving evidence through a television link in these type of cases unless there is some very good reason that the court should order otherwise.

I understand the Minister is saying it is presumed that evidence will be given through a television link when persons are under 17 years of age but that when they are over 17 years of age the assumption is that evidence will be given in open court, unless the court gives leave for matters to be dealt with otherwise. Could the Minister explain how this procedure will actually work? If somebody over the age of 17 is to give evidence in a case involving violence it is assumed that the evidence will be given in open court? At what stage might an application be made that the witness should give evidence by way of television link? Will the witness have to come into court? Will the application be made by counsel for the State or by an independent legal representative of the witness who will have to make the case as to why the witness should not come into court or, if already in court, should not have to give evidence there? I have no major disagreement with the principle but I am anxious to get it right. It is a substantial change to make on Report Stage and we have not had a great deal of time to consider it.

Usually the prosecution will make application for the provision of this facility in respect of people over the age of 17 years. That is the procedure envisaged. There may be unusual cases in which a witness for the defence may wish to avail of this facility and the defence counsel can make application. Advance notice is required to be given to the court staff so that the equipment will be available. The witness will have to come to court initially while the application is being made.

The witness in these circumstances may not necessarily be the victim.

That is correct.

The witness may be a person who has relevant evidence to offer on a particular incident. There is an assumption that a person under the age of 17 may give evidence through television link. The reason is the age of the person, who should not be distressed by the panoply of the justice system, with people wearing wigs and gowns and behaving in rather odd ways which we still seem to tolerate.

This morning a group of children were touring the House with me and I was looking at the picture of Parliament in College Green in the years 1782 to 1800. I noticed that all the gentlemen there were bewigged. I suspect that if that Parliament had continued without the interruption of the 19th century we would still be wearing wigs here as well.

Some of us might rebel against it. I can understand that a person over the age of 17 who has witnessed a sexual offence and been horrified at what has taken place may not want to be confronted by the accused in court. The State is not always sensitive to the feelings of witnesses called to give evidence. I am not a barrister and I do not practise in the area of criminal law, but I understand that State counsel often do not engage in direct discussions with the witnesses they intend to call for fear that there might be some suggestion that they could influence or coach them. Instructions come in written form. How will counsel acting for the State know whether it is desirable or not that a person over the age of 17 should be in court to give evidence? Must we wait until the witness breaks down while giving evidence? I am raising some practical questions. The intent of the section is good but I want to tease out how it will work in practice.

Deputy Shatter has raised a number of very interesting practical considerations. Rules of court can be made to cover these situations and the rules committee will be consulted. I would assume that the prosecuting counsel would have to examine his list of witnesses and perhaps talk to various people to see whether it would be appropriate to make an application in respect of one or more of them to give evidence through television link. The witness might feel that the trauma of appearing in open court would have a detrimental effect. The matter might be discussed with a local general practitioner and come to light in that way. The local Garda investigating the case would have a knowledge of the principal characters involved and they might be conscious of the fact that one of the witnesses would be vulnerable in this way. If the Garda are convinced they have a case they will be concerned to see that it is prosecuted successfully. They may bring the matter to the attention of State counsel. It is a matter that requires some thought. These are my preliminary thoughts. Rules of court can be made to cover the workings of this section.

This may be a well meaning provision that will not affect anything in practice. We are talking about the rights of the witness. If this possibility is to be open to somebody who is a witness as opposed to somebody who is the accused person, or the victim, the Minister might consider whether there should be some specific provision in the statute or by way of regulation made under it which would provide for an information leaflet to be given to witnesses in cases where the seeking of such manner of giving evidence would arise. This would make a witness aware of the possibility of giving evidence in this way and would give some indication as to how to make such a request. If it is to happen with the leave of the court, it would seem that the application would have to be made on the day of the court hearing unless some preliminary court application is envisaged prior to that date. A detailed opening of the nature of the case to the judge may be required to decide whether it is appropriate or not. The judge is the only appropriate person before whom that should happen. This is a procedure that can only function if application is made to the trial judge. Certainly the rules of court would have to require that if that application is made on behalf of the prosecution the defence would have to be warned in advance; and if it is being made on behalf of the defence in respect of any witness they are calling, the prosecution should be warned in advance. I am merely raising these issues, some of which cannot be solved directly in the Bill, because they relate to rules of court. This is the first time we have had an opportunity to address this issue. We would not do our job properly if we did not tease out some of the difficulties that could arise so that the Minister, through his Department, may consider them in advance of the Seanad debate in the context of any further new amendments that may be tabled.

I agree with the Minister that there is not a huge difference between the phraseology in amendment No. 25, which I seek to delete, "unless the court sees good reason to the contrary" and substitute "unless the interests of justice otherwise require." The rationale behind tabling that amendment and seeking to substitute the words "unless the interests of justice otherwise require" was that the interests of justice may be a somewhat broader concept, because you have to do justice not just to the person who is giving evidence but to ensure that the position of the defendant, who is innocent until proven guilty, is actually protected. It may be purely a matter of semantics and I will not press it. The words "unless the court sees good reason to the contrary" is not the type of wording which is normally put into a statute. Very often the Law Reform Commission arrive at a proposal which we dress up into normal legislative statutory language. In this case we seem to simply transcribe it into the Bill. I have no major issue to raise about it.

Deputy Shatter's notion about an information leaflet is an extremely good one. As he rightly said, prosecution witnesses are ignored by the State. I will pass on that suggestion and we will do our best to implement it. It is also envisaged that the Director of Public Prosecutions will issue guidelines to prosecuting counsel for this type of case. In relation to the Deputy's specific query about when the application is made, I am advised that it is envisaged that the application will be made on the morning of the trial before the trial proper starts. Again, I thank the Deputy for his suggestion about the information leaflet; it is an eminently sensible one.

I simply wish to signal my apologies for not being here at the outset. The principles contained in the Bill are welcome. I would ask the Chair to bear with me and allow me to say that the Minister of State indicated on Committee Stage that he would take on board many of the points made by both Deputy Shatter and myself. Indeed, the Minister's response, by means of the amendments he has circulated, is very substantial and shows a recognition of the work which we as Deputies have done in the House on Committee Stage and I am very pleased with it. The extension of the principle of a live television link for evidence by people other than those originally envisaged in the Bill, as contained in the Minister's amendment, is welcome and one which I support in principle and I congratulate the Minister on it.

Amendment agreed to.

We come now to amendment No. 2 in the name of Deputy Shatter. Amendment No. 3 is an alternative. It is proposed, therefore, to take amendments Nos. 2 and 3.

I move amendment No. 2:

In page 3, line 19, after "districts" to insert "save no such day or days as fixed shall be later than 12 months after the passing of this Act".

This Bill suffers the frailty that a number of Bills which we put through the House in recent years suffered. I am repeating to some extent what I said on Committee Stage, which is that we pass legislation and people assume it is operational; but then nothing happens because either the totality of legislation or large chunks of it are said not to come into operation until appropriate ministerial orders have been made. Hence, in the criminal law area, the Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence) Act, passed in December 1990 to extend the facility of genetic fingerprinting to the Garda in circumstances where someone who is a suspect in a crime is unwilling to co-operate voluntarily in genetic fingerprinting — certain provisions in that legislation can facilitate the Garda in using that technique — cannot come into force without ministerial order. We are now approaching the end of June 1992 and the Bill is not in force because the ministerial order has not been made and we do not know when it will be made. We were told there is an urgency about the passage of this Bill. It is accepted on all sides of the House that worthwhile reforms are contained in this Bill in a number of important areas of our criminal law which we would all like to see brought into force fairly rapidly. The Bill has been improved as we have gone through the legislative stages and will be further improved today by virtue of amendments tabled by both the Minister and by the Opposition parties, in particular by the Fine Gael Party and the Democratic Left. Many of the Minister's amendments reflect proposals that came from those two parties on this side of the House.

There was a great rush to complete Report Stage tonight and the Government wanted to guillotine it at 10.30 p.m. We on the Fine Gael side made the point that it may be possible to complete Report Stage by 10.30 p.m. But if it had not been fully completed we did not wish the Bill to be guillotined, so we are now sitting until midnight because presumably the Government have an urgent intent to implement the legislation. The first section of the legislation provides that Part III and section 28 will not come into operation until the necessary ministerial orders are made, but there is no "sell-by" date.

I take the view that it is reasonable that the Minister has some time in which to make the various regulations which the legislation will require prior to it becoming operational. I have no argument with the Minister about that. Previously, we discussed the fact that time was required to install the video camera equipment which is necessary to implement aspects of the legislation. I have no quibble about that. The Minister indicated that much of this will be operational by the beginning of the new law term next October. What I do not like is a Bill that is so open-ended, where there is no guarantee that parts of it will come into force by any particular date. From my recollection the Mental Health Act, which was passed in 1980 to reform the Mental Treatment Act, 1945 was to come into force by ministerial order, but no part or section of that Act has been brought into operation. In effect, it is now a defunct Act passed through this House 12 years ago, during which time Governments of various political shades have come in and out of office. It has been abandoned on a lone, desolate island on which Bills that are never brought into operation are forever abandoned without sustenance or care.

I want this Bill to come into force and I want a "sell-by" date. I propose that the Bill be amended to provide in page 3, line 19 after "districts" to insert "save no such day or days as fixed shall be later than 12 months after the passing of this Act". That would require that the legislation and the relevant ministerial orders become operational in full no later than 12 months from the passing of the Act. I presume that will take us to the end of July. On the assumption that it is the Government's intention to pass it through the Seanad in July, 12 months hence would be July 1993. I do not think it is unreasonable to have a "sell-by" date of July 1993. I would hope the Minister would make all his orders and brings into force all the relevant sections well before that date. I want an assurance that by that date at the very least, this legislation will be in force. I am formally proposing that amendment and I hope the Minister will take it on board.

I have reservations about the way in which the Bill is drafted in this regard. It is provided that the Act shall come into effect on such day or dates as the Minister shall order. Unfortunately, that formula is being used more and more by the Government as a device to introduce legislation by degrees or decree as economic or other exigencies permit. In practice, that device is denying, or subventing to some degree, the democratic process of this House passing legislation. Deputy Shatter spoke of the forensic evidence legislation. I do not intend to give a litany of other legislation in the justice and law reform area and in other areas which include the same formula.

The most startling of such pieces of legislation to come to mind immediately is the Child Care Act. That legislation is a very important development in the whole area of child care. It is an area of law within the ambit of the Minister for Health that relates closely to some of the more important provisions in this legislation that deal with the care of young children. This Bill deals with the prosecution of those who are brought to task in relation to sexual offences against young people. There is a very close relationship between the legislation.

To date, one section out of the more than 100 sections that make up the Child Care Act has been brought into effect, after a period of about 18 months. That provision is one of a very wide ranging nature that deals with the abuse of solvents. Because of the close relationship between the legislation and because of the indication I have been given in this House that the Government are not inclined to give priority to this area of law in practice, I am extremely reluctant to agree to the inclusion in this Bill of a wide-ranging power providing that the law shall come into effect as and when the Minister for Justice shall deem it appropriate or convenient. A provision still extant in the Criminal Justice Act, 1984, that deals with the tape recording of interviews of suspects in police stations is only now being examined in a very cursory way, some eight years after being passed into law. That legislation is again closely related in that we are now dealing with the idea of introducing recording technology into the criminal justice and police investigate areas of work. Eight years have elapsed yet the Department of Justice cannot come to terms with the provision of tape recording in Garda stations.

I am concerned about whether those involved in the administration of justice generally will be able to come to terms with the very innovative ideas contained in the Bill in relation to the transmission by video into the courtroom of important testimony in certain circumstances for very important trials. One of the interesting aspects of the Bill is that it was introduced, as has been mentioned, as legislation requiring urgent attention. There is a very strict guillotine on the proceedings at midnight tonight — a guillotine that I believe may not ultimately be adequate for our purposes and I do not intend to delay unnecessarily. However, the phenomenon that has emerged in the way in which the House has dealt with the legislation so expeditiously is that there has not been a widespread reaction within the community at large or, more particularly, within the courts and the justice community, to its provisions.

The Garda Síochána in one of their journals quite rightly signalled the legislation as being probably one of the most important developments in criminal evidence law. I agree that the Bill is remarkably good legislation by and large. However, I have not yet learnt how the courts are reacting to the Bill and, more particularly, how the more conservative elements within the legal professions intend to operate, and work with, the legislation. I know as a matter of fact that other important, innovative provisions proposed and introduced into law by the Department of Justice, or recommended by several commissions by way of report, are meeting very stout opposition from senior members of the Judiciary and the legal profession, with the result that there has been little or no progress. One example of that would be the operation of the recommendations of the Martin Committee.

Before I am able to agree to the way in which this section of the Bill is drafted I would need very clear assurances that all the trade union and professional reservations about the workability of the legislation have been dealt with by the Department. I would like to know that the decks are entirely clear and that it is only a matter of turning on the technical switch for the legislation to become operational. If that is not the case then it may be that in a year or even later the Minister will say — as has happened with other legislation — that all practical problems have not been ironed out and that there are ongoing negotiations with trade union and labour interests, with members of the Judiciary, with personnel operating the courts and with the legal profession in relation to the way in which the legislation can be brought into play, particularly as regards the technical transmission of testimony.

Although there is other legislation that could be referred to I do not consider that necessary. I recall one Deputy this morning complaining that a provision in the intoxicating liquor legislation concerning the display of liquor in supermarkets has not yet been implemented, after more than four years. The Minister of State should recognise the very real concerns that exist on this side of the House. Our concerns are not simply fanciful or hypothetical, they are based on real experience gained in dealing with other important legislation that is closely related or parallel to this Bill.

My amendment, which is being taken in conjunction with that of Deputy Shatter, specifically names a date, the first day of the Michaelmas law term of this year — in other words, the first day on which the courts resume for ordinary business after the "long vacation", as they know it. We in this House know about long vacations but often the long vacation of the legal professions is even longer than that of the House. By and large, after the summer vacation the courts reassemble in or about the second week of October. The Minister of State at the Department of Justice, Deputy O'Dea, said on Committee Stage that in his view the technical arrangements were well advanced, would be in place and should be tried and tested during the summer period. I have no doubt that he will take an opportunity to update the House on those developments. My amendment is not unreasonable in demanding that the Minister pursue the legislation in the Seanad with the same vigour as has been evident here; that the legislation be on the stocks by the end of the Seanad session, at the end of July — and there should be no difficulty there — and that the Bill be a working piece of legislation in time for the courts recess period of August, September and whatever time in October is necessary to allow for the conclusion of the technical arrangements. My amendment seeks to provide a date. I could live with Deputy Shatter's amendment if need be — I do not wish to take away from his views or efforts in this matter. Deputy Shatter and I are ad unum in that we are simply trying to achieve a date that is fixed and to make sure that the legislation is not allowed to slip. As I said, the Minister of State gave an assurance on Committee Stage that the technical arrangements were well in hand and could be dealt with.

My amendment — and that of Deputy Shatter — is designed to address two other considerations. We are trying to deal with the possibility of financial reservations rearing their head within the Department and the decision that the legislation cannot be afforded for the time being. We are also trying to deal with the problem of people in the profession or in the administrative division of the courts deciding that there are parallel or additional issues to be examined and that such issues should be resolved in advance of the implementation of this legislation.

New technology will be brought in but suddenly people will add bargaining counters and issues with regard to work, pay and conditions as a device to push their case. I want to strengthen the hand of the Minister of State on this debate so that when he goes back to the conservative or other agencies in this field he can say that his hands are tied because Dáil Éireann has laid down a time-scale within which this legislation must come into operation and that it will be working when the House has ordered that it should. I do not want a repeat in this legislation of the — regrettably — often narrow repeated phenomenon of legislation being passed in the House and not being implemented by reason of this device. Therefore, I hope that the Minister of State will accept one or other of the amendments because they are essential to the legislation working.

On a point of order, Sir, before another Member contributes, as I have done in the past I again want to draw your attention to the appalling conditions in this House today. I understand that the last day when I took my jacket off, someone in the office of Public Works discovered the following day that five fans could be situated in this Chamber; since then three of them have apparently grown legs and walked out of the Chamber and we are left with two today. As I said previously, we are doing serious work which will keep us here until midnight. Deputy McCartan suggested that we might not finish at midnight but we are working constructively in the hope that we will finish before midnight. Either way, I am not prepared to sit in the Chamber from now until midnight in these conditions. Nothing will be done about conditions in this House until Deputies constantly raise them. Through your good offices I am raising this matter and if somebody can find the other three fans I would welcome them back to the House. I do not know whether that requires calling a division which will result in fans running in to vote. Perhaps, in so far as you can communicate the concerns of Deputies, you might do so. I do not have any wish to engage in further rows with you, Sir, or anyone else in regard to taking off jackets but if the heat continues in this Chamber, I will certainly be doing so.

I hope that the need will not arise for the Deputy to take off his jacket and that we will have rectified the situation before midnight.

It does not augur well if legislators cannot see that the very modest electrical equipment required to give us minimum comfort is provided. What hope has the Minister of getting the various electrical appliances which will be required when this Bill is enacted?

I wish to address myself briefly to the amendments before the House because points have been made about the urgency of this legislation and the fact that it is long overdue. People before the courts have been acquitted of serious charges — in some cases perhaps they should not have been acquitted — because of the lack of necessary evidence. The provisions of this Bill, which are very urgently required, would ensure that people who should not be acquitted will not be acquitted in future. I am not a legal person but I was thrown into this debate at the latter end of Committee Stage. I do not claim to have any great insight to the problem, unlike my two colleagues, the spopkespersons for Fine Gael and the Democratic Left, who practise the profession. However, I have listened very carefully to most of what was said since I came into the House and I am impressed with their arguments about the urgency and necessity of having the Bill enacted.

On the other hand, I should like the Minister of State to comment on whether the authorities are ready to meet the requirements of the Bill. It is one thing for people who should have been found guilty to be acquitted but, if extreme care is not taken in relation to these provisions, something equally bad could happen, an innocent person might be found guilty. An accused person will be at a disadvantage in trying to cross-examine their accuser and in that context the various provisions of the Bill should be implemented with the utmost care and attention. It is important that the first cases taken under the Bill are clearly successful and that there should not be any lingering doubts about the acquittal of a person because the equipment was not tested properly and that inexperienced people were using it. That could result in dubious verdicts being handed down.

I will support the amendment provided the Minister gives an assurance that everything will be in place. Deputy McCartan mentioned the financial implications of the Bill and I should like the Minister to comment on them. The Department have received estimates for the cost of implementing the Bill. Have they tendered for the equipment required? Have training courses been provided for the staff? If the Minister would enlighten us in regard to these matters it would help us in relation to our stand on these amendments.

I take the points made by Deputies McCartan and Shatter. However, we must compare like with like. Deputy McCartan referred to the Child Care Bill on Committee Stage and said that only one section has been brought into operation. Under the explicit terms of this legislation all the provisions of the Bill — except Part III and section 28 — will be brought into operation within three months.

Unlike the Child Care Bill, in this case money has been allocated in the Estimates. Deputy McCartan mentioned the financial considerations and I take his point. It would be most unusual, to say the least, if a Government Department failed to spend the money allocated. The point should also be made that those parts of the Bill which will not come into effect automatically within three months are contingent on the operation of certain equipment which will have to be put in place. I mentioned on Committee Stage that it would be undesirable if the Minister for Justice was compelled to bring into operation before a certain date legislation, parts of which were contingent on the operation of certain equipment, because through unforseen circumstances the equipment might not be in operation.

Incidentally, I have some good news for both Deputy McCartan and Deputy Shatter. Their concerns about the Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence) Act, 1990, can be laid to rest. That Act was brought into operation by order as and from 5 June 1992. I am aware that Deputy McCartan always expects to hear good news in the House from me and I fulfil his expectations again today.

Why was there no public announcement to that effect?

I am not responsible for the publicity end of things, Deputy. I am giving the information that it was brought into force by ministerial order on 5 June 1992. One learns something new every day.

Citizens of the country should know these things when they happen.

I accept that. While I will talk to the PR people, that is not my function. When Deputy Shatter's amendment was discussed on Committee Stage I explained that I have every reason to expect that the provisions of Part III of the Bill, which deals with the giving of evidence by television link in child abuse cases, would be brought into operation by next October. Nothing has happened in the meantime to suggest that that target will not be met and that the necessary facilities will not be installed in the Four Courts before then. In fact, all the indications are, assuming that the Bill is enacted in the middle of July — and that is our intention — these particular provisions will be in operation so far as the Dublin areas are concerned before the other provisions of the Bill. As I said, these do not come into force until three months after the Bill is passed.

However, I remain of the opinion that it would be imprudent to fax a definite limit for this part to come into operation in case some unforeseen event would delay the installation of the video equipment. If that should happen the Minister for Justice would be placed in the invidious position of having to bring these provisions into operation without the necessary facilities being available. Regrettably, for these reasons I must again decline to accept the amendment.

Since Committee Stage debate tenders have been received, demonstrations have been arranged to which representatives of the legal profession have been invited and the systems in operation in the United Kingdom have been inspected. A decision on the tender to be accepted — I understand that the number of applicants has been reduced to three or four — may be made within the next week to ten days.

It should be noted that on Committee Stage Deputy McCartan was satisfied to propose a limit of six months. According to the record, he would be willing to concede to Deputy Shatter's proposition of 12 months and "would even agree to a longer period provided an emphatic and clear date is laid down for implementation of the legislation". The date which Deputy McCartan now proposes for implementation is the first day of the next term, which will probably be less than three months after the passage of the Bill.

The Minister of State convinced me.

He has also proposed that sections 12 to 15, which deal with the giving of evidence by television link, must be brought into operation in every Circuit and District Court circuit, but this will not be possible. On Committee Stage I dealt with the position in the Dublin area; but, as the Deputy will be aware, under the provisions of the Bill, proceedings may, on application, be transferred. As I have explained, I fully expect that the necessary equipment will be installed in the Four Courts by 1 October next, but I have to be honest and say that it will take some time before the facilities can be made generally available. That is the reason provision is being made for the transfer of proceedings. Nevertheless, my remarks on Committee Stage about the installation of equipment in courts in other parts of the country still stand.

The last sentence uttered by the Minister of State is the source of major concern. He stated that it will take some time to install equipment in other parts of the country. The difficulty is that the Department of Justice is situated in Dublin and we are Dublin orientated. Having regard to the fact that the proceedings we are talking about are sensitive and difficult, victims and witnesses should not be required to travel from one end of Ireland to the other, from Kerry and Donegal to Dublin, for a court hearing.

We also have a branch in Killarney.

I fail to see why we cannot address these problems in other parts of the country also. Deputy McCartan's intentions and my own are no different and it comes down to a question of ensuring that the matter will be dealt with by a reasonable date. However, I accept what the Minister has to say: that it may not be possible to have this equipment in place by the Michaelmas term and that one may want two or three months after it has been installed in Dublin to make sure that there are no snags in the system if we are to install it elsewhere. It would seem that a 12 month period is more than adequate and would be of assistance to the Minister of State.

I see, Sir, that I am going to get my own fan. I hope the other Deputies in the House will be able to avail of the same facility. No doubt our own public relations people would warn us about what it would do to our hairstyles for the television cameras, but I am sanguine enough to know that it is probable that no one will watch this. Indeed, RTE may not relay any of it.

However, the point I was going to make was that if we insert this figure of 12 months in the Bill the Minister of State will be able to insist when the Estimates meetings take place in the autumn that funding be made available to ensure that these facilities are provided nationally in each of the Circuit Court districts. To be fair to the people we have in mind in the context of Part III of the legislation — I am sorry, Sir. I cannot help but smile because it seems the protest worked.

For once I would like to say that the Deputy will understand if I do not share his consideration for hairstyles.

I am concerned that Deputy Shatter's hot air is going to be pushed towards Deputy Pattison and myself.

It might facilitate the speedy passage of the Bill if Deputy McCartan were to be given one of these fans, but we will not go into that matter now. I was going to say that it would be of help to the Minister of State if this provision were included in the Bill because he would then have a statutory duty to provide these facilities within 12 months and to ensure that the money is made available. Like the Criminal Justice Act, 1984, which Deputy McCartan mentioned, we will install facilities in Killarney and in Dublin and then sit back and look at them and cases will be transferred for years willy nilly without facilities being installed elsewhere. To ensure that the Bill functions properly and that unnecessary distress is not caused to people as a result of cases being transferred from one part of the country to Dublin, it is my intention to press the amendment.

A Leas-Cheann Comhairle——

I am sorry, Deputy, but we are dealing with Report Stage.

May I ask a brief question?

Not even a question.

Mr. Cotter rose.

I am sorry, Deputy Cotter, but Deputy Shatter has concluded. We are on Report Stage.

On a point of order, it has to do with the machine. The purpose of the machine is to circulate air in the Chamber. I think it is inappropriate that it should be blowing it in my direction. I foresee some of our papers being blown away in a little while. While I am sure union regulations would suggest that we cannot do anything with it ourselves, would it be possible to have it relocated?

The Chair shall have the matter examined.

Amendment put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 56; Níl, 69.

  • Ahearn, Therese.
  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Belton, Louis J.
  • Boylan, Andrew.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Cosgrave, Michael Joe.
  • Cotter, Bill.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • De Rossa, Proinsias.
  • Doyle, Joe.
  • Dukes, Alan.
  • Durkan, Bernard.
  • Enright, Thomas W.
  • Farrelly, John V.
  • Fennell, Nuala.
  • Finucane, Michael.
  • FitzGerald, Garret.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Foxe, Tom.
  • Garland, Roger.
  • Harte, Paddy.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kemmy, Jim.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • McCartan, Pat.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael. (Limerick East).
  • O'Shea, Brian.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, Patrick J.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Taylor-Quinn, Madeleine.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Yates, Ivan.

Níl

  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Barrett, Michael.
  • Brady, Gerard.
  • Brady, Vincent.
  • Brennan, Mattie.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John (Wexford).
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Clohessy, Peadar.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Mary Theresa.
  • Cullimore, Séamus.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Dennehy, John.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Fahey, Jackie.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
  • Flood, Chris.
  • Flynn, Pádraig.
  • Gallagher, Pat the Cope.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Hillery, Brian.
  • Hilliard, Colm.
  • Hyland, Liam.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Kelly, Laurence.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Lyons, Denis.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McDaid, Jim.
  • McEllistrim, Tom.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Noonan, Michael J. (Limerick West).
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donoghue, John.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Ned.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Toole, Martin Joe.
  • Quill, Máirín.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Stafford, John.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Tunney, Jim.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Wilson, John P.
  • Wyse, Pearse.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Flanagan and Boylan; Níl, Deputies Dempsey and Clohessy.
Amendment declared lost.

Amendment No. 3 in the name of Deputy Pat McCartan was discussed with the earlier amendment No. 2. How stands that amendment now?

That amendment follows on course of the previous decision.

Amendment No. 3 not moved.

Amendment No. 4 is in the name of the same Deputy and amendment No. 5 is related. I suggest therefore, that we discuss amendments Nos. 4 and 5 together. Is that satisfactory? Agreed.

I move amendment No. 4:

In page 3, line 23, after "concerned." to insert "The institution of proceedings shall be deemed to have occurred when a charge is laid or a summons is returned to court duly served in accordance with the law.".

I am happy to withdraw my amendment No. 4 in favour of what the Minister proposes and to repeat in the same spirit what I said earlier, that it is one of the amendments on which the Minister undertook on Committee Stage to have regard to the points made. He has come back with a much better drafted and better reasoned amendment in this regard.

The one point I would like to make at this stage is to ask again through the Minister of State or through our deliberations here that a clear signal go out to all parties who would be concerned. I am not suggesting there is a great number of cases but I am particularly aware of one on which the Minister and his Department have received representations and submissions on the legislation. With the lifting of this anachronistic legal requirement of corroboration there is a possibility that a number of investigations that have already been made by An Garda Síochána into allegations of sexual abuse of women or of child sexual abuse may now be reviewed or re-examined. Some people out there in the community whose children or who themselves have been injured or insulted in the grossest possible way by sexual attack or abuse have made complaint and that complaint could not have been processed or developed because of the absence of this phenomenon known as corroboration, some tangible independent evidence in support of their complaint. For them this is a very progressive element of the legislation. It was desirable that the Bill defined the commencement of proceedings for the purposes of ensuring that matters that had simply been investigated by An Garda Síochána and did not lead to the institution of proceedings could be reopened and reviewed in the light of the very innovative and important development in this legislation of the removal of the need for corroboration.

It is a welcome development. The Minister's amendment is more effective than my amendment No. 4. I thank the Minister for that. I withdraw No. 4 and I will be happy to accept amendment No. 5.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 5:

In page 3, between lines 23 and 24, to insert the following:

"(b) For the purposes of paragraph (a) criminal proceedings are instituted—

(i) when a summons or warrant of arrest is issued in respect of an offence,

(ii) when a person is arrested without a warrant, or (iii) when a person is remanded for trial pursuant to section 177 or 178 (as amended by section 3 of the Defence (Amendment) Act, 1987) of the Defence Act, 1954.".

Deputy McCartan is quite right in saying that in certain cases where a prosecution could not have taken place because of the lack of corroboration, a prosecution could not be taken. I do not know whom precisely Deputy McCartan wants us to communicate with in this regard but I have just been reminded that, while this Bill is extremely important — as somebody said, a landmark — in the law of criminal evidence, the newspaper reports of these debates have tended to be very scanty indeed. Perhaps the press should take note that this section as amended opens up this very important and interesting possibility.

I am moving amendment No. 5 as a result of an amendment put down by Deputy McCartan on Committee Stage, which he has now retabled but has just withdrawn.

He was anxious that it be made clear that the institution of proceedings for the purposes of section 1 (4) of the Bill did not include the preliminary investigation carried out by the Garda Síochána. He was supported in this by Deputy Taylor. Section 1 (4) provides that, apart from certain provisions, the Bill will not apply to criminal proceedings instituted before it comes into operation.

The effect of my amendment is that for this purpose criminal proceedings will only be regarded as instituted when a summons or warrant of arrest is issued or a person is arrested without a warrant. It also applies to a person subject to military law when he is remanded for trial by court martial.

I think the amendment adequately meets the case made by Deputy McCartan and Deputy Taylor. It provides the necessary degree of certainty as to precisely when proceedings are instituted in the context of this subsection, which is of course a transitional provision.

I welcome this amendment. I hope that serious cases of sexual abuse which took place some time ago and which were not pursued by the commencement of criminal proceedings due to the difficulties which have been described already, and where there is now a possibility of a prosecution proceeding, will be looked at. Of course, this will require the Director of Public Prosecutions to examine old files sitting on his desk or in filing cabinets. For each old file not pursued in that way there is someone who has been very seriously wronged and there is a perpetrator of that wrong. This is an important provision in the Bill.

I agree with the Minister that there are great difficulties in the way this Parliament is functioning and the way the proceedings are reported. All politicians think that every word they utter is a sort of pearl of wisdom which deserves huge headlines. However, when we all stand back from it we realise we said an awful lot we did not need to say or which did not merit reportage. This Bill is very important in the area of criminal law, in addressing cases of sexual offences, in dealing with child sexual abuse and the prosecution of those who are responsible for it and in a number of other areas also. I must say I am utterly astonished that much of the proceedings on this Bill have received little or no reportage. It seems that the national papers have virtually given up on giving decent coverage to anything this House does beyond the Second Stage debate on Bills. This is unfortunate in a democracy because if the main national newspapers decide en bloc that when Committee and Report Stages of most Bills are being dealt with there is no need to either put in reporters or cover the very important matters which are being discussed, it means the general public do not know about the changes which are taking place. This is wrong. I would exclude one newspaper from that criticism, The Cork Examiner, a paper which has a very individual approach to Dáil reports and which is far more comprehensive in its coverage than all the other papers, some of which purport to keep a daily record of events in Ireland.

I do not expect much of what we say here today to get much reportage. I am not worried about reportage for the sake of what politicians are doing for self-serving reasons. We need reportage so that the general public, and professionals who work in the relevant areas, are aware of the changes that Parliament is making to the laws of the land in areas of substantial importance. I do not know how we can deal with this problem. The appallingly poor coverage given by RTE to the proceedings of this House does not address the problem. The lunacy of a Dáil Report which usually takes place at 12 midnight or which is given two minutes on "Morning Ireland" is not the way to cover the proceedings of Parliament. We should also bear in mind that for years RTE banged on the door of this Parliament seeking permission to cover the proceedings. They are not using this footage in a way which I believe would be beneficial to the general public in understanding the workings of this House.

The Minister said he did not know with whom his Department should communicate. I believe people who have been aggrieved in the past by the rule of corroboration and who did not successfully convince the Garda Síochána or the Director of Public Prosecutions that prosecutions should be initiated, are keeping a reasonably close eye on the debate on this legislation. This issue could be addressed if the Minister's Department wrote to the Garda superintendent in each district asking him to advise his members to look at their more recent files to see whether they should get in contact with complainants because of the change in the evidential rules obtaining in this whole area. Sexual abuse and, in particular, child sexual abuse, are such heinous crimes that they merit this kind of review. If there are files in Garda stations which could not be processed because of the anachronistic requirement for corroboration then the Garda Síochána should be requested to go back to the complainants and their families, interview and advise them and let them decide whether the case should be reopened. This is one way of dealing with the issue.

I put forward this suggestion because recently I read in a Garda Síochána journal a request that a provision in the malicious damage code passed by this House would impact on the workings of section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act. They complained that no one had told them what had gone on in the House in regard to this Act. The Garda Síochána did not monitor the deliberations of this House and the Seanad in regard to the fundamental changes introduced in our criminal law in this area. As Deputy Shatter and the Minister said, perhaps some of the fault for this lies with the rather inadequate reporting of these matters in our national newspapers. It would seem desirable as a matter of course for a memorandum to be sent by the Department to the Garda Commissioner or the Garda Superintendent in each district advising them about the passing of the legislation and its impact. In the case of this narrow issue, I ask the Minister to ask the Garda Superintendent in each district to re-examine their files to see if any cases could not be prosecuted because of the requirement for corroboration. These files should be re-examined to see whether in the interests of justice and the interests of all concerned the cases can be re-opened.

I thank Deputies for their support for this amendment. I stand over what I said about the inadequate reporting of the proceedings of this House. I appreciate the points made by Deputy Shatter in support of what I said. Deputy McCartan suggested that we should write to Garda Superintendents asking them to look at their files. I should point out that I have no power to order Gardaí to do this, that or the other in that respect; it is a matter for them. He also suggested that the changes could be brought to the attention of the Gardaí possibly through the Garda Commissioner's office. I will bring that suggestion to the attention of the Minister.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 6:

I page 4, line 29, after "Act" to insert "or any other Act involved in a criminal prosecution".

I raised this issue on Committee Stage. I re-entered this amendment in order to get the views of the Minister of State on it. As I said on Committee Stage, in criminal proceedings, particularly under the 1908 Children Act, problems can arise in relation to a person's age. On many occasions courts have great difficulty in trying to establish the age of people who appear before them, particularly young people. A person's age can have a fundamental impact on the way a court deals with an offender. For that reason I had suggested that this subsection, which allows the court to make certain inferences with regard to the age of a person appearing before it, and more particularly, which casts the burden onto the shoulders of the person against whom the finding of age is made to prove it otherwise, should be extended to apply generally, to any other Act involved in a criminal prosecution. The Minister agreed to consider the matter for Report Stage. I am simply re-entering the amendment to hear the Minister's reason why it is unnecessary at this stage, which I infer from the fact that he has not tabled an amendment in this area.

This is repetition of an amendment tabled by Deputy McCartan on Committee Stage. On reading my own response on Committee Stage I think I was mistaken. Deputy Taylor, from the Labour Party, made the point that the section dealing with documentary evidence relates to every type of criminal offence and not just sexual offences or offences involving violence. I was seduced by the attractiveness of Deputy Taylor's argument. On reflection it seems that the provision in subsection (3), which provides a presumption that a person's age is to be the age which he or she appears to the court to be, relates only to the giving of evidence by young witnesses. That is because the question of age does not relate to the Part concerning documentary evidence. The provision will operate only in relation to the giving of evidence by under 17 years olds by live TV link, the admissibility of out-of-court video recorded interviews with under 14 year old victims and the giving of unsworn evidence by under 14 year olds pursuant to section 26. If we were to accept Deputy McCartan's amendment we would be extending the presumption generally and that would include young persons who are accused of offences.

At present under section 123 (1) of the Children Act, 1908, the court must make due inquiry as to the age of the child or young person coming before it. It has been held that evidence of age given during the inquiry must be given on oath. This is because the object of the Act was to protect children and young persons from the full rigour of the criminal law in so far as punishments are concerned. It would be therefore undesirable to extend this provision in the way proposed and for those reasons I regret I cannot accept the amendment.

The Minister's reply is a little disappointing. I advanced this amendment as a result of my experience of the way in which the interests of justice have been set at nought or played games with by people who refuse to admit to their age either to the investigating officer or to the court under examination when due inquiry was being made. This provision is a very useful one which puts the onus on a person to disprove a presumption made by a court with regard to age. It is particularly relevant where a person has been convicted by the court and is to stand for sentence. In the balance of fairness between one interest and another, where a person is convicted different considerations would apply. This presumption would not be called in aid by the court in order to secure the conviction but would flow after the conviction had been recorded. The person therefore would no longer stand as an innocent person in the dock.

This amendment would have been a very useful and sensible one to have included in the Bill. I have no doubt that the courts and the Garda Síochána would have found it of great assistance in operating the provisions of section 123 of the 1908 Act which is used most often in this area. I have made my case and the Minister has not accepted it. Therefore, I ask that the question be put.

Amendment put and declared lost.

We will now deal with amendment No. 7. Amendment No. 10, amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 10, amendment No. 12 and amendments Nos. 16 to 22, inclusive, are related and it is suggested, therefore, that they be taken together for discussion. Is that agreed? Agreed.

I move amendment No. 7:

In page 5, line 8, after "Oireachtas" to insert "and shall include any records of the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages as established".

This is a very important matter. The Miniser of State has kept his word that he would consider this matter carefully and come back to the House with an amendment. I am happy he has addressed the concerns I expressed on Committee Stage, which arose directly from the unbelievable circumstances surrounding the celebrated Waterford case in which the court was unable to establish the parentage of the defendant to the victim despite all other elements of the case having been established in evidence. The case was withdrawn because this fact could not be established other than by calling the mother of the victim who was not available as a witness at that time.

The glaring injustice that arose from that case was advanced by the Minister for Justice in introducing this legislation on Second Stage. It concerned me that there was nothing in the Bill as drafted to deal with that situation. For that reason I proposed an amendment on Committee Stage, which I have put down again here, that the proof by documentation under Part II of the Bill would include any records of the Registry of Birth, Deaths and Marriages as established. In other words, the provisions of Part II of the Bill which allow for proof of fact by production of documentary evidence would include evidence of statements contained in the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages as maintained by the various health boards under the Department of Health. If that was provided for in the legislation it would address the situation the Minister for Justice had ingeniously suggested was already covered in the legislation. I do not believe it was. I made that point on Committee Stage.

The Minister of State, and the Department, have responded very reasonably to the issues raised on Committee Stage. Deputy Shatter brought the argument a step further. He was concerned as to what inferences the court would be allowed to draw from the written record and suggested that it was important that a court be entitled to presume the correctness of the record produced from the register of births, marriages and deaths. I accept that the simple production of a register of births which carried references to parentage would in itself not be sufficient. My amendment does not go far enough in that respect. I accept that one would have to allow the court to presume that what was recorded at birth in the register would raise questions of presumption in the minds of the court and the jury and it would be a matter again for the defendant to deny what presumably was a matter of record. For that reason, I accept in principle the concerns raised by Deputy Shatter in his amendment. Subject to hearing finer arguments on the matter I will be happy to withdraw my amendment at the conclusion of this debate in favour of amendment No. 10 advanced by the Minister.

I urge the Minister to listen carefully to the arguments advanced and consider Deputy Shatter's amendment. On the conclusion of this debate I would like to see agreement that the amendments reflect the concern of all in the House that the type of situation that emerged in the Waterford incest case, which was an extremely ridiculous injustice, will never recur. I am not concerned about whose amendment is accepted to achieve that. When we move on from this area of the Bill I want to know that we have copperfastened the law so that this preposterous scenario will never re-emerge in any court proceedings here. The result of those proceedings was a very black day for criminal justice generally and the capacity of this State to deal with a very heinous sad state of affairs. I await the contributions of the Minister, Deputy Shatter and others before we make the final decision on what combination of proposals should be adopted by the House. I welcome the initiative taken by the Minister in tabling his amendment.

Amendment No. 7 is being taken in conjunction with amendments Nos. 10, 12 and 16 to 22 inclusive.

Deputies will recall the long discussion we had on Committee Stage arising from the disquiet felt on all sides of the House at the outcome of the proceedings in the Waterford incest case.

Deputies McCartan and Shatter each tabled amendments on that Stage aimed at simplifying the proof of paternity in such cases. I undertook to bring forward an amendment on this Stage to give effect to the general wish of the House in this respect, though in my view, the situation is already provided for in section 5 (1).

The amendment I am now moving will be acceptable generally. First, it specifically makes a birth certificate evidence of parentage. So it avoids the necessity for proving that the conditions of admissibility specified in section 5 (1) have been complied with. Second, it does not contain any presumption that the certificate is evidence of parentage until the contrary is proved. I am reluctant to impose on an accused person a burden of proving the contrary, especially in this context. Deputy Shatter has proposed an amendment to my amendment providing specifically for a presumption, though not a presumption until the contrary is proved, but I am not clear that it is necessary to do so seeing that the birth certificate is being made evidence of the relationship in question.

My amendment makes a birth certificate evidence that the person named in the certificate as father or mother is the father or the mother of the person to whom the certificate relates. It is necessary to include a reference to the mother as this would be relevant in establishing the relationship between a maternal grandfather and his grandchild in a case of alleged incest involving a grandfather.

In relation to amendments Nos. 16 to 22, inclusive, which are related, the new sections proposed to be inserted by Deputy Shatter deal with the taking of blood tests to assist a criminal court in determining paternity. Since this proposal was discussed on Committee Stage the Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence) Act, 1990 has been brought into operiation. That Act enables a blood sample to be taken from persons in custody under section 30 of the Offences against the State Act, 1939 or section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984. The consent, in writing, of the person concerned is necessary, but if it is refused without good cause an inference from such refusal may be drawn in any subsequent proceedings.

It seems to me, therefore, that the situation which the Deputy was providing for on Committee Stage has now been adequately dealt with by the bringing into operation of the 1990 Act in the meantime.

This is probably one of the more important, if not the most important, provision with which we are dealing on Report Stage. As Deputy McCartan, and the Minister, stated there was substantial concern about the Waterford incest case in which charges were dismissed because a birth certificate was not regarded as sufficient to establish even a prima facie case for paternity. It was a matter of some seriousness because the charges laid were given a great deal of public prominence and there was serious concern that such charges would not be brought in the future if the law was not adequately changed.

In relation to this matter, substantial amendments were tabled on Committee Stage and on Second Stage I raised the difficulty with the Minister's approach, when the Minister seemed to suggest that the Bill already adequately addressed the issue. I welcome the fact that the Minister has now brought forward an amendment which will ensure that a birth certificate can be produced and that the document will be evidence of the relationship admissible in criminal procedings. I am concerned that this does not go far enough. We have to recall that this arose from a case of incest, where someone who was alleged to be the father of the child was living with the mother of the child. They were a married couple and the name of the alleged father appeared on the birth certificate. The parties had apparently lived for many years as husband and wife, mother, father and child. It seemed incomprehensible to the general public that the father simply denied that he was the father, or his lawyers simply denied that he was the father and he never had to give evidence and that difficulties would arise in establishing the patnerity of the child.

The Minister's amendment will allow for the production of the certificate as evidence and it stops there. If a person who was the alleged victim of incest describes to the court the nature of the behaviour that took place, the evidence of the birth certificate will at least mean that the person who was alleged to be the father has a case to answer. My concern is for the case where he simply says, "yes, my name is on the certificate, but I do not know how it got there" or "I do not accept that I am the father". A criminal case has to establish the position beyond a reasonable doubt. I am concerned that this Bill should be consistent with the legislation that is already enacted. In the context that amendment No. 10 should be accepted — let me way that I will now be discussing or pursuing amendment No. 12 in my name because it will now be irrelevant — I suggest that this amendment should itself be amended. The amendment as presented by the Minister reads:

In page 6, between lines 26 and 27, to insert the following:

"(5) Without a prejudice to subsection (1)—

(a) where a document purports to be a birth certificate issued in pursuance of the Birth and Deaths Registration Acts, 1863 to 1987, and

(b) a person is named therein as father or mother of the person to whose birth the certificate relates,

the document shall be admissible in many criminal proceedings as evidence of the relationship indicated therein.".

I suggest that after subsection (b) we insert the following:

"such persons shall be presumed to be the father or the mother of the person to whose birth the certificate relates unless the contrary is satisfactorily proved and the document shall be admissible in any criminal proceedings as evidence of such relationship.".

The difference between what the Minister and I are proposing is that once the certificate is produced it will be presumed that the person named therein is the father. Let us assume we are talking about a case of incest and an onus would now rest on the father or the person alleged to be the father to disprove that. It would not be mere evidence. To suggest it is mere evidence would mean that there is a further onus on the prosecution to bring forward further or additional evidence. I do not believe that mere evidence is sufficient. I believe that this presumption should arise. It would seem to me that there are mechanisms available by which someone can rebut the presumption, and I will come back to the role of genetic fingerprinting in this context in a moment.

What I am proposing is not particularly exceptional and, indeed, it is part of current law anyway. I wonder whether this provision in the legislation was brought to the notice of the court in the criminal prosecution case in Waterford? To illustrate my point I suggest that the Minister looks at Part VIII of the Status of Children Act, 1987. Section 46 contains various new legal presumptions of paternity and non-paternity in a variety of different circumstances as they arise. I do not wish to detain the House by reading the section in full but subsection (3) is particularly relevant:

Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, where—

—I can assure the Minister that subsection (1) is not of immediate relevance to the overall meaning of what is stated here—

(a) The birth of a child is registered in a register maintained under the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1863 to 1987, and

(b) The name of a person is entered as the father of the child on the register so maintained,

then the person whose name is so entered shall be presumed to be the father of the child unless the contrary is proved on the balance of probabilities.

That presumption in relation to paternity is part of our law and is contained in Part VIII which concerns Presumptions and Evidential Provisions of the Status of Children Act, 1987. My point is that that provision is not de-limited by the Act as applying only to civil proceedings. It seems to me that this Part is a general provision in relation to presumptions concerning parenthood. Once we establish that the birth certificate is admissible as evidence it seems that under the provisions of section 46 if someone is alleged to be the father of a child there is a presumption that will become part of the criminal law in this context.

I am trying to ensure that the legal provisions that should apply in a criminal evidence Bill are all contained in the one statute, as that is desirable. It is undesirable that there be a doubt about the presumption existing. If the presumption which appears to become part of the law automatically by virtue of the provision in the Status of Children Act, 1987, I fail to see why the Minister should object to my substitute amendment to amendment No. 10. I can see some lawyer or barrister arguing the point that the 1987 Act had to do with the status of children and has nothing to do with criminal law or criminal evidence, but I do not believe that that is the case. The fact that this provision is contained in this legislation — with all due respect to the Minister — undermines any objection that he could have to my amendment. Let me emphasise that I am not saying this to score points. I think this amendment is desirable, as it is desirable to establish a presumption.

People do not find their names appearing on a birth certificate by accident, they appear for good reason. Because a birth certificate is a document of record, it is quite reasonable that the record give rise to the presumption that whoever is named as the father or mother is in fact the father or mother and there is an onus on them to rebut that. I think, in fact, this arises under section 46. It may be the case that criminal lawyers who are prosecuting such cases are not familiar with the provisions of section 46 of the Status of Children Act, and if the Minister's amendment which does not contain this presumption is accepted, this may give rise to a great deal of debate and confusion. We should try to rid the Bill of this confusion. In view of the fact that there are reliable scientific methods to prove or disprove paternity, it does not put a huge burden on a person charged with the offence of incest to prove or disprove paternity when the court assumes he is the father of the child with whom this offence has been committed when his name appears on the birth certificate.

In the context of another provision in this Bill I wish to draw the Minister's attention to the unexceptional wording of this amendment. A few moments ago we were debating section 2 (3) — where there is a provision about the age of the person — and it states:

Where in any criminal proceedings the age of a person at any time is material for the purposes of any provision of this Act, his age at that time shall for the purposes of that provision be deemed, unless the contrary is proved, to be or to have been that which appears to the court to be or to have been his age at that time

The words used here are "unless the contrary is proved" while I use the words "unless the contrary is satisfactorily proved" and I am not sure if there is any functional difference between the two and this establishes that we are creating presumptions in the Act, because this is a presumption about age, whereas I am making a presumption about paternity which might in fact be a bit more reliable. If we judge someone from their stature and their size, what they look like, surely that is far more dangerous than simply looking at a birth certificate and judging whether the person is a parent because they are named as the parent of the child.

I welcome the constructive attitude the Minister has taken in this amendment to the concerns we have expressed on this Bill and I welcome the fact that the Minister intends to address that. However, I am anxious that we address it correctly. My point is that if the Minister's amendment is accepted, section 46 of the Status of Children Act will have this application in any case but I think it is as well that we insert my substitute amendment to amendment No. 10 in the Criminal Evidence Bill so that the law is clear and that we do not confuse the issue by giving rise to opportunities for legal debate on what is a hugely important issue.

I never want to see again a case of incest coming before our courts in which someone escapes from having to give evidence in the witness box by a technicality similar to that which arose in the Waterford case. I am concerned that simply saying that producing a birth certificate will provide evidence is not sufficient to put an onus on the defendant to, in fact, give evidence. It may simply be evidence and any counsel could make the submission, without the defendant or the accused going into the witness box, that this is evidence but there is no other evidence of paternity and this does not mean there is a case to answer. If we make this a presumption it ensures there is a case to answer and it appears that the presumption may arise anyway because of the Status of Children Act.

I wish to deal now with the new Part III which I propose should be inserted in the Bill. I do not intend to delay the House by reading into the record the lengthy amendment relating to blood tests in determining parentage in criminal proceedings as it was read into the record on Committee Stage on my behalf by Deputy Cotter and is contained in the Official Report of Tuesday, 26 May 1992, commencing at column 439.

There were two reasons for proposing that amendment. One reason was to draw attention to the fact that the forensic evidence legislation was not operational. I am pleased to hear that it has now been brought into operation, but that does not obviate the necessity for this provision. This is a different provision from that in the Forensic Evidence Act. That Act allows the Garda where they have reasonable cause to suspect that somebody has committed a particular type of offence, to request that person to co-operate in genetic fingerprinting. If the person, without reasonable cause, fails to comply with that request, certain conclusions may be drawn. The Garda may have a birth certificate and they may bring a charge of incest against the person named on that birth certificate for having relations with his daughter. The person charged may say nothing or may simply say he is not guilty. The Garda bring the case to court.

The Forensic Evidence Act operates as a pre-trial Act, used when there is reasonable cause to suspect. It may be used even before a decision is made to commence proceedings. There may be a belief that there is not sufficient evidence to commence proceedings without invoking that legislation. The case goes to court and the birth certificate is produced. The person alleged on the birth certificate to be the father of the child claims that he is not the father. Under the Minister's provision, a presumption does not even arise. The court has two contrary pieces of evidence. Let us say that in this case the mother is dead and cannot be called to give evidence either as a competent or as a compellable witness. In the absence of a presumption, the court would have difficulty in securing a conviction because it might prove impossible to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the man is the father. The Garda cannot call the man out of the witness box and ask him to give a blood sample or a tissue sample.

Where parentage is an issue that comes before the court the man may say he wants an opportunity to prove he is not the father. This may be relevant in the context of offences other than incest. Provision should be made to allow the judge to make a judicial order for the carrying out of tests. That is different from co-operating with the Garda. The trial judge hears conflicting evidence and decides that the only way to resolve the issue is by the use of the scientific technique of genetic fingerprinting. The relevant court order can be made for samples to be taken. The trial can be adjourned and continued after the results have been obtained. If the person does not co-operate in the taking of blood tests, such failure may be treated as corroboration of the presumption of parentage. This brings into the criminal area provisions identical to those in the civil area where an issue of parentage arises. These provisions are taken directly from Part VII of the Status of Children Act and adapted to criminal proceedings. They have worked extremely well. Those sections have been tested as far as the Supreme Court in a case in which I was involved. The Supreme Court confirmed a High Court direction for the taking of samples.

Circumstances can arise within a trial which can merit the court having powers in a criminal trial to ask that blood samples be taken when before the trial there may not have appeared to be a need for the Garda to invoke the provisions of the Forensic Evidence Act. That is why this provision may be useful. It may not be used frequently, but it is important that it be there. It would interact in an important way with the other amendments we wish to bring in. If we give the courts power to make such orders in civil proceedings, I see no difficulty in allowing them to make such orders in criminal proceedings. The order does not put undue pressure on the accused; it is designed to help the court to get at the truth in cases which may be extremely sensitive and difficult.

The intent of this proposal has been somewhat misunderstood. My reading is that there is not a total overlap between it and the forensic evidence legislation. Use of the Forensic Evidence Act pre-trial could in a number of instances make this provision redundant, but in other circumstances it could be a vital statutory power given to a judge to help ensure that truth is ascertained. It could ensure that those people who have committed offences and should be convicted are properly convicted. On the other hand, it would provide a mechanism which would ensure that where somebody has not committed an offence but allegations have been made which present a substantial body of plausible evidence, there is a means of establishing the truth with regard to the parentage of a child. I appreciate that this part of the Bill is complicated but it is no more complicated than what was done in the civil area in legislation on the status of children.

I am pleased that the Minister has put down his own amendment in response to concern expressed in the context of the Waterford case, which was widely discussed in the House. The Minister said at the time that hard cases make bad law. He would do well to take account of the well-argued case put forward by Deputy Shatter, which is wholly consistent with making sure that this Bill will perform in the court as intended. The amendment to amendment No. 10 is logical. It provides an additional definition which tidies up that part of the Bill and removes any doubts as to how that section might be interpreted.

Having listened to Deputy Shatter's reasoning on amendments Nos. 16 to 22, inclusive, how the Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence) Act is intended to be applied and the fact that in the course of a trial an individual could make a simple statement which could throw the whole trial into chaos and could mean that the court would not have the power at that stage to get conclusive proof of a particular fact and would have to leave it to a jury to assess from flimsy evidence who may be telling the truth or otherwise, it seems to me to be extremely compelling that the Deputy's Part III, amendments Nos. 16 to 22 inclusive, should also be included. I would ask the Minister to take plenty of time to consider these amendments. The expertise we have in this Chamber is laudable and the manner in which this Bill has been handled to date is laudable. Most of the time the Minister of State has been reasonable. Occasionally he loses his cool a little when somebody like myself persisted in trying to understand the full implications of a particular section, but that is understandable. He has decided to come a certain distance by means of this amendment. I request that he examine very carefully the compelling arguments put forward by Deputy Shatter in regard to incest cases. I assume from all the evidence we are gathering that these cases will become more numerous. Some interesting evidence was given last week by the ISPCC to the effect that the number of calls being received on Childline are double the number of calls received last year. I do not suggest the incidence is increasing, but rather that the reporting of these cases has increased dramatically since 1984 and will continue to do so. Therefore, the courts will be dealing with more and more very difficult and awkward cases in this area. It is incumbent on us to ensure that this Bill is watertight and that the courts have the ability to deal with the eventualities that may arise.

Perhaps it was a good idea to extend the time required for the debate. If the Minister is not satisfied that we can deal with this matter this evening — and, as a layman, I find it very complex legislation; even the experts differ — further time might be necessary on another day to come to grips with these matters and in order to reach agreement. The Minister has been willing, throughout the debate, to take into account all the arguments made. I hope that by the time we are finished the Act will have the hallmark of the expertise that has gone into it.

The arguments advanced by the Minister of State in support of his amendment do not deal adequately with the matter. I have indicated that I have no hesitation in withdrawing amendment No. 7 in favour of amendment No. 10 in the name of the Minister. He has dealt fairly with the general concerns that birth certificates should be given a particular status, but I presume marriage certificates are covered by the legislation. Only births and deaths registration Acts are referred to, but on occasion issues of marriage can also arise. I want to be assured that they are included in that legislation.

I realise we are on the final Stages of the legislation and that under Standing Orders the Minister does not have a right to reply. Nonetheless, I would urge, if he is not in a position to accept Deputy Shatter's amendment to amendment No. 10, to review the matter again so that when this legislation is considered in the Seanad some progress could be made on it there. The view advanced by Deputy Shatter must be given serious consideration. The first real consideration is that of consistency. It is important that the legislative provision in the Status of Children Act, referred to by Deputy Shatter, should be consistent with what we provide in this legislation. It will give rise to very substantial confusion and debate if there is one provision in that Act and a separate provision in this legislation. The provision should be consistent with that already provided for in an earlier section.

Section 2 (3) is part of the Bill because we recognise that documents of public record as maintained by State agencies under the provisions of the births and deaths registration Acts and otherwise have a certain status. They are compiled by the keepers of those records under very strict conditions and they carry authority. For that reason when one comes to deal with the issue of age under this legislation the Minister should have no hesitation in recognising that fact and allow a certain presumption to arise from the face of the document, as provided for under section 2 (3).

There should be a certain degree of consistency in dealing with these issues. Therefore, I suggest to the Minister that he use the precise language he used in section 2 (3) "unless the contrary is proved". The issue is important from the point of view of consistency with what is provided earlier in the Bill and also in other legislation in the area. It is also important from the point of view of ultimate proof and the successful prosecution of matters before the courts. It is important that the status of these documents be recognised for what they are; they have authority and can be produced as proper proof. The proposal here is that that authority and proof stand until someone says otherwise.

We must be sensible about this. It is inconceivable that a record of birth could be made without the knowledge of any party named on the document. There is no way that a record of birth, or, indeed, a record of marriage or of death, could be produced or maintained without the people concerned knowing about it. As a matter of commonsense, we have to recognise the prospect as the law stands. It may well emerge, even with the Minister's amendment, that a person who has allowed his name as the father to remain on a register of birth for a number of years could in effect deny the content of that record should it be produced by remaining mute in a criminal trial when it becomes a matter of convenience. In these circumstances it is not unreasonable and does not throw an unbearable onus onto the defendant's shoulders if he or she wishes to deny what is a matter of public record, and one that has stood for a considerable time with the full knowledge of the parties concerned. He or she should be obliged to bring to the satisfaction of the court some reason that the court might reject the public record. That is all the amendment suggests. I support Deputy Shatter's view. I do not believe the amendment would cast the unbearable onus referred to by the Minister in all circumstances. As a matter of consistency the House is almost compelled, if not obliged, to accept the amendment. I hope the Minister will accept the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

We now come to amendment No. 8. Amendment No. 9 is a related amendment. We shall, therefore, take amendments Nos. 8 and 9 together for discussion.

I move amendment No. 8:

In page 6, lines 22 and 23, to delete "or examination" and substitute ", examination or analysis".

This is a drafting amendment, suggested as a result of the discussions on Committee Stage, on the meaning of the term "examination" in the context of section 5 (4) (b) (iv). In the particular context to which this amendment is confined, that is, the handling of articles constituting evidence, it might be argued that forensic analysis, say of a substance suspected of being a drug, would not be covered by the word "examination" used in the present text of section 5 (4) (b) (iii). The amendment makes it clear that documents relating to the analysis of exhibits will be admissible as evidence in criminal proceedings.

Deputy McCartan's amendment No. 9 is a related amendment. I undertook to examine a point made by Deputy McCartan when he moved this amendment on Committee Stage. The Deputy questioned whether the taking of a blood or urine sample by a doctor from a driver under the Road Traffic Acts would be an examination in the sense in which it occurs in section 5 (4) (b) (iv), which is, "a record by a registered medical practitioner of an examination of a living or dead person". On reflection, I think it is doubtful if it is. As a result of the Deputy raising this matter we have looked again at section 5 (4) (b) (iii), which deals with the admissibility of a record of "the receipt, handling, transmission or examination" of any evidence. A doubt must exist as to whether "examination" would be an adequate term to describe the analysis to which those samples are subjected. In amendment No. 8, I propose that the subparagraph be extended to include analysis of exhibits.

As regards the second leg of the Deputy's amendment, section 5 will make it possible for documentary evidence that a doctor is registered to be provided by the Medical Council. I consider that the House can be satisfied on that aspect.

The Minister has responded reasonably to concerns expressed on Committee Stage. I welcome the introduction of the different term and the extension of the working of the section to include not only an examination but also an analysis. The Minister is well advised in the area of drug analysis and I am sure he will agree it would be necessary to include the concept of analysis in that not all examinations include an analysis.

The concern I had arose out of a prosecution of some notoriety, because of the defendant, in this city. The prosecution ultimately failed because the established "police doctor" was unavailable. In fact, at the time he was in hospital seriously ill. That person has given evidence in court as a registered medical practitioner for as long as I care to remember. Even though the Registrar of the Medical Council attended to produce the record showing that the doctor who conducted the examination was duly entered and recorded that was not accepted as sufficient evidence of registration because under the law as it stood the doctor had to be in court to say that he was the doctor in question and was a registered medical practitioner. As I understand the position, all other elements of the prosecution had been reasonably established to the satisfaction of the court but it failed on that technical point. I tabled a question to the Minister on this matter and I wanted to ensure that the issue would be addressed in this legislation, that in such circumstances the prosecution evidence would be fully covered. I am happy with what the Minister of State said, that in conjunction with the addition of the word "analysis" and the provisions of section 5, the matter is reasonably covered.

I suggest that this is another matter that deserves a memorandum from the Minister to An Garda Síochána explaining that these provisions would now assist the Garda greatly. It is something that the medico-legal society might also be advised of so that they might make an appropriate response. A huge amount of professional time is consumed by doctors having to attend at courts in circumstances in which they are simply giving evidence as a matter of course. The sooner we arrive at the day when such testimony can be avoided and accommodated by the provisions of the legislation the better it will be.

I welcome the Minister's amendment. I do not propose to pursue amendment No. 9.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 9 not moved.

We now come to amendment No. 10 in the name of the Minister. There is an amendment tabled to amendment No. 10. I ask the Minister to formally vote amendment No. 10.

I move amendment No. 10.

In page 6, between lines 26 and 27, to insert the following:

"(5) Without prejudice to subsection (1)—

(a) where a document purports to be a birth certificate issued in pursuance of the Births and Deaths Registration Acts, 1863 to 1987, and

(b) a person is named therein as father or mother of the person to whose birth the certificate relates,

the document shall be admissible in any criminal proceedings as evidence of the relationship indicated therein.".

This amendment has already been discussed with amendment No. 7.

I move amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 10:

To delete the last two lines of subsection (5) and substitute the following:

"such person shall be presumed to be the father or the mother of the person to whose birth the certificate relates unless the contrary is satisfactorily proved and the document shall be admissible in any criminal proceedings as evidence of such relationship.`.".

The question will now be put on amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 10.

Will the Minister accept it?

The House has a motion before it, which is the Minister's amendment. There is an amendment to that amendment, so I shall first put the question on the amendment to the amendment.

I had hoped that the House might avoid dividing on it.

Perhaps the Minister might accept the amendment, which would mean we could avoid dividing on it.

Perhaps he might indicate something for another day?

Is Deputy Shatter pressing his amendment?

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 69; Níl, 57.

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Barrett, Michael.
  • Brady, Gerard.
  • Brady, Vincent.
  • Brennan, Mattie.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John (Wexford).
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Clohessy, Peadar.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Mary Theresa.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Dennehy, John.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Fahey, Jackie.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
  • Gallagher, Pat the Cope.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Hillery, Brian.
  • Hilliard, Colm.
  • Hyland, Liam.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Kelly, Laurence.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Lyons, Denis.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McDaid, Jim.
  • McEllistrim, Tom.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Noonan, Michael J. (Limerick West).
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donoghue, John.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Ned.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • O'Toole, Martin Joe.
  • Quill, Máirín.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Stafford, John.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Tunney, Jim.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Wilson, John P.
  • Wyse, Pearse.

Níl

  • Ahearn, Therese.
  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Belton, Louis J.
  • Boylan, Andrew.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Byrne, Eric.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Cosgrave, Michael Joe.
  • Cotter, Bill.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • De Rossa, Proinsias.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • Mac Giolla, Tomás.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael. (Limerick East).
  • O'Shea, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Gerry.
  • Dukes, Alan.
  • Durkan, Bernard.
  • Enright, Thomas W.
  • Farrelly, John V.
  • Fennell, Nuala.
  • Finucane, Michael.
  • FitzGerald, Garret.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Harte, Paddy.
  • Hogan, Philip.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Lee, Pat.
  • McCartan, Pat.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, Patrick J.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Taylor-Quinn, Madeleine.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Yates, Ivan.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Dempsey and Clohessy; Níl, Deputies Flanagan and Boylan.
Question declared carried.
Amendment declared lost.
Amendment No. 10 agreed to.
Debate adjourned.