Road Traffic Bill, 1993: From the Seanad.

The Dáil went into Committee to consider amendments from the Seanad.

Amendment No. 1 is consequential on amendment No. 2 and amendments Nos. 27 and 28 are related. I suggest that, by agreement, we take amendments Nos. 1, 2, 27 and 28 together if that is satisfactory.

Since these amendments were debated in the Seanad last evening and I received them only this morning, would the Minister be kind enough to give this House a broad outline of what changes were made, a brief indication of what they actually involve and why they were effected prior to our commencing our discussion on them?

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 1:

Sections: In page 5, paragraph (a), line 7, after "Acts,""and" inserted.

I do not propose to go into detail at this stage but there were a number of significant changes made of which the major one was my amendment in relation to mandatory disqualification and the question of discretion for the court in first offence cases where special circumstances obtained. An amendment was also proposed by Fine Gael in relation to the detention period when a driver was found to be intoxicated while in charge of a car, reducing that period from eight hours to six hours.

There were also a number of technical amendments. The one we are now taking provides for the deletion of paragraph (c) of the definition of "reserved function". Amendments Nos. 27 and 28 are consequential changes to sections 35 and 36. These are purely technical, drafting amendments advised by the Attorney General to be put in place and do not effect any material change to the Bill.

As we come to each amendment, in view of the fact that the House has agreed to take these amendments following their passage in the Seanad, I will endeavour to give a detailed outline of what each involves.

Question put and agreed to.

Seanad amendment No. 2 has already been discussed with amendment No. 1.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 2:

In page 5, lines 8 to 12, paragraphs (b) and (c) deleted and the following paragraph substituted:

"(b) in the case of the corporation of a county borough, a reserved function for the purposes of the Acts relating to the management of the county borough.".

Question put and agreed to.

We come now to Seanad amendment No. 3. Here I suggest that we discuss amendments Nos. 3, 30 and 31 together, as they are related, if that is satisfactory.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 3:

Sections 4: In page 5, subsection (1), lines 36 and 37, "101 (8) and 101A (inserted by the Act of 1987)" deleted and "101 (8), 101A (inserted by the Act of 1987) and 115 (7)" substituted.

This group of amendments deals with time limits for instituting summary proceedings. Summary proceedings normally must be instituted within six months from the date of the committal of the offence in accordance with section 10 (4) of the Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851. While six months is the standard time limit for taking prosecutions for summary offences, existing road traffic law provides for an extended period of 12 months in respect of offences involving fraud in obtaining a policy of insurance and for making false declarations. The period of 12 months allowed in such cases is frequently insufficient particularly when the false declaration is not detected for some time. Section 48 of the Bill was designed to allow a longer time for taking prosecutions in such cases, providing that proceedings must be instituted either within six months of the committal of the offence or within three months from the date the necessary evidence of the offence was obtained, whichever is the later, but subject to a maximum of three years.

At the closing Stages of the debate in the Dáil some concern was expressed that this provision could be used to take proceedings up to three years after committal of a standard motoring offence, which was certainly never the intention. That was why, to clarify the issue, I moved the amendments in the Seanad.

This group of amendments state specifically that the only circumstances in which proceedings can be instituted after six months are offences committed under section 64 of the 1961 Act, involving fraud in obtaining an insurance policy, and offences under section 115 of the 1961 Act involving false declarations in obtaining a driving licence or insurance certificate.

In regard to the overall matter of insurance and fraud, would the Minister agree that the problem is that the whole principle of insurance is based on the utmost good faith? While it may be in order to extend the period within which a person may be brought before the courts, from the point of view of the public the reality is the absence of such good faith can mean that effectively an insurance policy is void from the outset. The proposition confronting us is that people who suffer damage consequential on no insurance being in place — if I read this provision correctly — because fraud was evident at the time of the negotiation of the insurance, it may be possible to bring the person before the courts but, on the overall reason for having insurance cover, the real loser could be an ordinary member of the public. I fail to see what the benefit of this will be if people who obtain insurance cover in accordance with the provisions of the Road Traffic Act find subsequently that because of a fraudulent statement having been made at the outset no insurance cover was in force. That is the real issue that must be faced. That is the issue that is of grave concern to many people. If an accident occurs and people discover there is no insurance cover for the damages they have suffered it will be of little consolation to them to find subsequently that the person involved is brought before the courts.

I should like to see some provision inserted in this Bill to deal with the type of circumstances I have just outlined. Perhaps the Minister would outline to the House the reasons he thinks it is necessary to insert this provision, bearing in mind what I have just said, and state the purpose behind it. For example, is it too render it more convenient to bring people before the courts simply to procure a criminal charge or is it designed to assist in some way the public who will be the sufferers at the end of the day?

With regard to noninsured drivers with no insurance or with inadequate insurance cover, Deputy Barrett will be aware that the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland was established for the precise purpose of endeavouring to deal with such cases. However, I readily admit that the bureau is not able to cover all aspects of the damages involved. Of course, our primary purpose is to clear off our roads people who drive uninsured vehicles, the present percentage of whom is estimated to be between six and eight per cent, which is totally unacceptable.

There are other provisions in this Bill which, as the Deputy will know, increase the penalties for uninsured driving. The purpose for the inclusion of this provision — which allows summary proceedings to be put in place up to a period of three years three months after production of the evidence — applies only in cases of fraud and false certification.

The advice from the legal and security services was that a number of prominent cases of fraud and false certifications took some time. It was admitted by members of the legal profession both in the Seanad and in the earlier debate here that these circumstances arise and it is a pity people can escape justice because of the time limit, which was never intended to operate in that way. Equally, it was not intended, as was construed, to have a summary proceeding for minor offences. That was why we specified that it could only involve fraud and false declarations. If the one year time limit had elapsed and the evidence was produced thereafter and there was an absolute certainty of conviction, in so far as one can be sure, under the law it was not possible to proceed, even though there was solid evidence. This amendment is designed to facilitate the discharge of justice in such circumstances.

Question put and agreed to.

We come to Seanad amendment No. 4. I observe that amendments Nos. 5, 7 and 11 are related. I suggest, therefore, that we discuss amendments Nos. 4, 5, 7 and 11 together if that is satisfactory.

Are we allowed to make only one contribution?

We are in Committee and Members may speak as often as they like.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 4:

Section 13: In page 11, subsection (1), lines 2 to 19 deleted, and the following substituted:

"Garda Síochána station, at his discretion, do either or both of the following—

(a) require the person to provide, by exhaling into an apparatus for determining the concentration of alcohol in the breath, 2 specimens of his breath and may indicate the manner in which he is to comply with the requirement,

(b) require the person either——

(i) to permit a designated doctor to take from the person a specimen of his blood, or

(ii) at the option of the person, to provide for the designated doctor a specimen of his urine,

and if the doctor states in writing that he is unwilling, on medical grounds, to take from the person or be provided by him with the specimen to which the requirement in either of the foregoing subparagraphs related, the member may make a requirement of the person under this paragraph in relation to the specimen other than that to which the first requirement related.".

This group of amendments agreed by the Seanad has two purposes. The amendments give the person the option as to whether to provide blood or urine and they also provide that where a designated doctor is unwilling, on medical grounds, to take a specimen this will be stated in writing. Amendment No. 11, which amends section 21, provides evidential value to such a statement. Perhaps I could give some of the background. As Deputies will know, a number of high profile cases under the Road Traffic Act have been struck down on a technical point. One of those involved a person who offered to give a urine sample but was unable to do so. Because of his medical condition there was a problem in giving blood. In the earlier debate I sought to give the choice to the Garda to decide whether it should be a urine or a blood sample in order to get over the difficulties that had arisen. There were many arguments about it on Committee Stage as well as in the Seanad and I agreed to see whether I could return to the position of giving the right to the individual to decide whether the sample should be blood or urine. Since that time there has been another major case which consolidated the original view of what the traffic law should be in this case. That enables me to return to giving the option to the individual to choose whether to give a blood or urine sample.

In effect, are we enabling the individual to decide?

We are returning to what was the recognised position in the old law. I was attempting to change it on foot of court decisions in the interim period. I am now returning to providing for the same provision as heretofore where the person charged had the option.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 5:

Section 14: In page 12, subsection (4), lines 8 to 19 deleted, and the following substituted:

"member of the Garda Síochána may there require the person either—

(a) to permit a designated doctor to take from the person a specimen of his blood, or

(b) at the option of the person, to provide for the designated doctor a specimen of his urine,

and if the doctor states in writing that he is unwilling, on medical grounds, to take from the person or be provided by him with the specimen to which the requirement in either of the foregoing paragraphs related, the member may make a requirement of the person under this subsection in relation to the specimen other than that to which the first requirement related.".

Question put and agreed to.

We come to amendment No. 6. I observe that amendment No. 8 is related. I suggest, therefore, that we discuss both amendments together if that is satisfactory.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 6:

Section 15: In page 12, subsection (1), line 35, after "to"", or attends at, a" inserted.

This amendment was put forward by Senator Tom Enright. These amendments are designed to put beyond doubt that a specimen can be sought from a person who attends in casualty and who has not yet been admitted as an in-patient.

Can the Minister expand on that?

We made a number of changes in the Bill designed to cater for situations where a person involved in an accident is subsequently admitted to hospital. For the first time there is a right to take a blood specimen, provided the designated doctor agrees that that is medically correct. This is a technical amendment. The specimen can be sought from a person who attends in casualty as distinct from somebody who is admitted as an in-patient. All of the discussion both here and in the Seanad tended to indicate that a person had to be a patient in the hospital. This amendment is a clarification to deal with a person attending casualty or out-patient facilities.

Section 15 (1) states:

Where, in a public place, an event occurs in relation to a mechanically propelled vehicle in consequence of which a person is injured, or claims or appears to have been injured, and is admitted to hospital——

After the word "to" I propose to insert the words "or attends at, a". In a number of cases people involved in road traffic accidents, where there was a drink element, feigned injury. I do not want to give any further details. It will be obvious that in such circumstances, where there is agreement with the designated doctor in the hospital, we should proceed in that way.

Was there a serious doubt as to whether the existing wording would not cover casualty? Was it the advice of the Attorney General that the wording as it existed was not sufficient?

Surely you are admitted to hospital if you arrive in casualty and somebody takes your particulars. What happens if you are outside the hospital door but on the hospital grounds? Are we getting into areas of greater technicality? What does "attending at a hospital" mean? I am thinking of people who will use situations to avoid the law. Is one attending at a hospital if one is outside the door of the casualty or on the premises but not actually within the building? Can the Minister clarify what he is getting at?

The whole idea is to close off the loopholes. Under the existing law people are immune from prosecution once they are admitted to hospital. to put the matter beyond doubt both Senators Henry and Enright were anxious that I consider an amendment to take account of a person admitted to casualty as distinct from being admitted as an in-patient. I take the Deputy's point regarding the creation of further loopholes or technical evasion. This provision will further clarify the position as far as casualty and outpatient facilities are concerned. A person outside the hospital is neither in casualty nor a patient.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 7:

Section 15: In page 12, subsection (1), lines 42 to 46 deleted, and in page 13, lines 1 to 7 deleted, and the following substituted:

"then such member may, in the hospital, require the person either—

(i) to permit a designated doctor to take from the person a specimen of his blood, or

(ii) at the option of the person, to provide for the designated doctor a specimen of his urine,

and if the doctor states in writing that he is unwilling, on medical grounds, to take from the person or be provided by him with the specimen to which the requirement in either of the foregoing sub-paragraphs related, the member may make a requirement of the person under this subsection in relation to the specimen other than that to which the first requirement related.".

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 8:

Section 15: In page 13, subsection (3), line 20, after "to"", or attendance at, a" inserted.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 9:

Section 16: In page 13, line 36, "8" deleted and "6" substituted.

This amendment proposed to reduce the maximum period of detention of an intoxicated driver for his own safety, or the safety of others, from eight hours to six hours. There was a lengthy debate in the Seanad on this arising from an amendment put down by Fine Gael. Senator Enright and others were anxious to ensure that the person would be detained only in circumstances where the designated doctor agree this was necessary. The tradition has been that these matters are decided in the best judgment of the gardaí. On Report Stage an amendment was put forward to reduce the period of detention from eight hours to six hours in cases where a garda detained a driver who was obviously intoxicated and a possible danger to himself and others. I was happy to accept that amendment.

I accept what the Minister says. As the matter was discussed in the Seanad yesterday I have not had an opportunity to read the debate. There is a difficulty with imposing limits and I am concerned that what is done is in the best interests of the person involved and not a form of punishment. We are trying to strike a reasonable balance in favour of the person who, in the opinion of the garda, is under the influence of drink to such an extent that he could be a threat to his own safety. Following a debate in the Seanad it would appear that those who felt strongly about the issue agreed a six hour detention period would be better then eight hours.

I would have liked to have heard the debate because I have yet to grasp precisely what was intended. I imagine that if someone were detained by a garda and it was felt that they might be a danger to themselves or others, in most cases the garda would either arrange for someone to collect them from the station or provide transport. I am sure that, having taken a sample, a garda would not release such a person back on the street.

However, I would not like this provision to be interpreted as a means of teaching someone a lesson. I do not see it would make a great deal of difference if, having been picked up at 2 a.m., a person is released after six hours at 8 a.m. or eight hours at 10 a.m. What has the experience been in cases where people were detained by the gardaí because it was felt they posed a threat to their own safety? What is the purpose of having a time limit? Is it to protect the individual from some form of detention for not more than eight hours or is it felt that a person would have sobered up sufficiently after six hours?

If a person complies with the law in terms of providing a sample their personal safety is then the issue. The court will ultimately decide if the person has broken the law and they will have to face the consequences. I do not understand why any time limit is imposed because we are talking about the safety of the individual and no politician is qualified to say that, in the interests of the safety of the individual, the gardaí should be entitled to hold them for six or eight hours. I do not know whether it should be six hours or eight hours because the circumstances in each case will vary. It is "in the opinion of the garda" that the person is not in a fit state to be released. A person would need to be heavily intoxicated to warrant being detained for eight hours to avoid posing a danger to himself or others.

As I have not been dealing with this Bill until now I may not understand the Minister. I cannot understand the need for setting specific time limits. Will the Minister elaborate on the arguments in favour of specifying a time limit of six or eight hours?

Deputy Barrett hit the nail on the head: we have relied on the Garda Síochána to use their discretion in dealing with such matters in the past. The Garda will not be entitled under this section to detain anybody who is arrested for drink driving except in circumstances where he or she is satisfied that the person is a danger to themselves and to the public. There are safeguards: where the person arrested is 18 years or more, a relative or other nominated person will be informed. The arrested person can opt to have no other person notified of the detention. When the relative or other nominated person arrives at the station, the arrested person will be released. The relative or other nominated person arriving at the station must be 18 years or more. The arrested person can opt not to be released into the custody of the person arriving at the station and the arrested person can still be detained if considered to be so intoxicated that he would constitute a threat to his own safety or the safety of others.

Where the arrested person is under 18 years of age, a relative or other nominated person will be informed automatically. When the relative or other nominated person arrives at the station, the arrested person will be released.

The normal practice is that the gardaí arrange for the person to be brought home safely, sometimes they may call a taxi or a garda will drive the person home. In some instances it is not possible to make such arrangements and the person is detained. An administrative practice has been established for dealing with such detentions for a period of hours. Let us take the case of a person who has taken four pints of Guinness. We are told — I have to rely on scientific evidence — that the blood alcohol level will return to normal after a period of eight hours. It would not be necessary for the blood alcohol level to return to zero before a person can drive safely. It is difficult to be positive of the specific period required for the normalisation of the blood alcohol level and I recognise the points Deputy Barrett has made.

The general practice is to operate in this way and we are giving it statutory effect, with the necessary safeguards, to ensure that the practices are carried out in a fair manner. The safeguards I have outlined are quite secure. It was thought that in certain circumstances a garda could go for the overkill — this was not referred to in the Seanad. I agree with Deputy Barrett that we rely on the security forces to act in accordance with good practice that is fair and acceptable and has a statutory basis. That has been our experience up to now. Tributes have been paid to the Garda Síochána for the way they have handled situations and we are giving a statutory basis to the administrative practices.

I thank the Minister for his response. I suggest it is always more dangerous to specify hours. I do not think we have any right to hint that members of the Garda Síochána would abuse the law. I do not understand the thinking behind statements that it is more unlikely that an abuse would occur if six rather than eight hours was the maximum. In my view it must be clearly understood that the period of detention must be in the interests of the individual. The courts will decide subsequently on the punishment for the offence committed.

I am wary of specifying the length of detention. If the person detained wants to dispute the length of the period of detention perhaps another officer of the rank of sergeant should be called upon to confirm the decision of the garda who believes it would be unwise to release him onto the street. If it is in the interests of the individual to be left sleeping for seven hours I hope the garda would have enough cop on to leave him in the cell until he had slept if off if nobody can be contacted. Under this section will a garda be breaking the law if he does not release the person the minute the specified period has elapsed in cases where the person is still sleeping, or is incoherent and a relative cannot be contacted to take him home? That is the problem with specified time limits. It is quite ridiculous to be arguing whether it should be six or eight hours. A garda should be able, in the interests of the individual's safety, to determine how long to detain him. If the arrested person disputes his detention and says he is fit to go home we are into a different ball game. If that is the case a second opinion should be sought, a garda of the rank of sergeant should be called to decide the matter. If a person is of the opinion that it is in their interests to leave after an hour or two and the garda disagrees we could end up walking a dangerous road. It would be wrong for a garda to detain that person for the maximum period to put manners on them.

I accept that 99.99 per cent of the members of the Garda Síochána do not think along those lines; they have enough problems without having to look after an intoxicated person but if there will be a dispute as to whether a person should be detained for six or eight hours we are not tackling the matter in the right way because people will complain they were detained despite the fact that they were of the opinion they were in a fit condition to leave the station. If there is a dispute somebody else should be called upon, a sergeant or inspector, to decide.

We are moving from the original intention of the legislation, which was to give the Garda Síochána discretion to decide whether a person should be allowed to leave, in arguing over whether the figure should be four, six or eight hours. If I table an amendment stating that the figure should be four hours none of us could argue with great conviction as to which of us is right.

My Whip informed me it was agreed on the Order of Business that we would have an opportunity to extend the debate beyond one hour if it was felt that the time available was insufficient to tease out——

I do not know the position, Deputy; no message has been conveyed to me concerning an extension of time.

We should call the referees to see if the Whips decided that the discussion should continue tomorrow. Will the Minister consider the points I made on this amendment? It would be dangerous to think in terms of a figure of six to eight hours. If a person drinks four pints of Guinness and is brought to a Garda station he should not have to wait until it leaves his system before the Garda let him out. While they may not be in a fit condition to drive a motor vehicle the vast majority of people would not be a danger to themselves in walking home when the sample has been taken. It would be absurd to argue along the lines that it may take up to eight hours for four pints of Guinness to leave the system.

If the intention is to protect the individual who may be a danger to himself it should be clearly stated that is the purpose of the section. There is a danger that the provisions will be abused to detain a person for up to eight hours which would not be in keeping with the spirit of the section. I ask the Minister to think again and insert a provision under which a senior member of the Garda Síochána, for example a sergeant, will be called to confirm the opinion of the rank and file member if there is a dispute over whether a person should be detained.

One would need the wisdom of Solomon to find the right solution to these problems. Since the legislation was introduced — it has been the subject of debate for many hours in both Houses — 130 amendments have been made which have improved the Bill considerably. Having reached agreement yesterday after a long debate on this issue additional matters are being introduced.

The purpose of this provision is not to detain the person who has had three or four pints for six to eight hours, the member of the Garda Síochána in charge will have to be satisfied that the person concerned is so intoxicated that he is a danger to himself or to the public. In those circumstances the person should be detained. The normal practice is that arrangements are made to inform a relative or assist the individual to get home safely. When people are detained for these reasons it would be extremely difficult, given the special safeguards in place, to require another member, as well as the member in charge, to assist in the decision making process. We rely on each member of the Garda to make decisions under a host of legislative provisions based on their training and experience.

If an individual complains or disagrees — this is likely to happen in certain circumstances — the decision of the member in charge will have to be accepted. If the individual has a grievance they will have an opportunity to make their case in subsequent court proceedings. This provision will not apply to the individual who has had a few drinks, it will only apply when a member of the Garda Síochána is satisfied that an individual is a danger to himself and the public. The safeguards are adequate.

I listened to the views of Members of both Houses. While I disagreed at times I am a democrat and this is the result of the distillation of the views expressed: it should be possible for an individual after a period of six hours to make his way home safely. The fears expressed by Deputy Barrett are groundless. The public have not expressed any fears about this provision which has been operated successfully by the Garda Síochána to date which is in the public interest.

I accept this matter has been the subject of a long debate and that the vast majority of the members of the Garda Síochána will not detain any person for fun. I listened carefully to what the Minister said, and if one could be sure that the members of the Garda Síochána would always do as the Minister said, the time limit would be irrelevant and there would be no need to include the legislation. All that would have to be provided for is that if a member of the Garda Síochána decides that it is not in the interest of the person to be released, that person could be detained until he is in a fit condition to protect himself. However, it was decided that if that were done a person could be detained for a week, to bring it to the ridiculous stage, or for 24 hours. It seems that it was to avoid any dispute that it was decided to introduce a time limit of eight hours. That was thought to be too long and it was reduced to six hours.

How can I win?

It is the principle that is important. The section deals with the detention of intoxicated drivers who are a danger to themselves or others. I am afraid of what will happen in cases where it may not be possible to contact a relative, and the person disputes the opinion of a garda that he is a danger to himself or others. Are we to have rows about this? Putting in a time limit makes it more likely that there will be disputes and more problems will be created than if there were no time limit.

The Garda can hold a person for up to six hours with no right of appeal. It is not even necessary to call in a sergeant to give his opinion when at least there would be a witness. I am suggesting that a provision be included that in the event of a person detained disputing the detention another member up to the rank of sergeant should be called upon to confirm the opinion of the detaining garda. That would be an adequate safeguard. The provision could be dangerous if left unaltered. I am not disputing the merits of a time limit of six hours compared to a time limit of eight hours but imposing a limit could be dangerous.

We spent a number of hours debating this yesterday in the Seanad and I agreed to a Fine Gael amendment on it. I accept that one cannot be certain when setting time limits, but that was the judgment of the House and I agreed to it. It is the member in charge of the station who will decide. In the small number of cases where these provisions must be applied, Deputy Barrett can be secure in the knowledge that the discretion of the garda can be relied upon.

It is against my better judgment but I hope I will be proved wrong.

The Deputy will have to talk to his colleagues.

This is not a political philosophy. It is a question of common sense. Putting limits like this into legislation causes more problems than the Minister is trying to solve. However, I will not divide the House or detain the Minister any longer. I hope I am wrong in my opinion.

Question put and agreed to.

Have the Whips agreed on the time we have to complete this legislation? The order was questioned this morning and I understand the Whips were to meet.

The Whips met and I have been informed that we are adjourning the debate at 11.50 a.m.

It was intended to put a guillotine motion at 11.50 a.m.

I understand that there will be a revised order.

I move: That the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 10:

In page 16, lines 6 to 31, subsections (4) and (5) deleted.

Section 19 sets out the procedures to be followed by the medical bureau of road safety in dealing with specimens of blood or urine. Subsections (1) to (3) are restatements of the existing law as set out in section 22 of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act, 1978. Under the section the bureau is required to forward a copy of the certificate to the person who provided the specimen. In recent years there have been a number of cases where persons tried to avoid receiving the copy of the certificate in the hope of avoiding a conviction on technical grounds.

Subsections (4) and (5) were designed to remove the potential for such challenges by providing that proof of postage would be deemed to be proof of delivery. On further examination of these subsections I have been advised that the new provisions are not necessary and that they might actually create new avenues for legal challenges concerning proof of postage. In the circumstances the Seanad agreed to the deletion of subsections (4) and (5) and the effect of the amendments is to leave the law as it is at present. This was another example of trying to close off a loophole. We are now satisfied that we would be best served by existing provisions.

Will the Minister outline the present legal position in relation to specimens? It often happens that in endeavouring to improve the provision one creates more problems. I am not certain what the present position is and how people were abusing the law to avoid prosecution. Will the Minister give me an example of what is happening?

When a person is arrested the specimens taken are sent to the bureau for analysis and a certificate is subsequently returned to the individual concerned. There have been circumstances where persons have sought to avoid being presented with that certificate and to use that as a technical reason to avoid prosecution and subsequent conviction. It was thought originally that it might be well to remove the potential for these challenges by providing that proof of postage of the certificate would be deemed to be proof of delivery. In some circumstances individuals seek to avoid the presentation to them of the certificate from the bureau and claim in court they were not informed.

I move: "Notwithstanding the order of the Dáil this morning, consideration of the Seanad amendments, if not previously concluded, shall be adjourned forthwith."

Question put and agreed to.
Progress reported; Committee to sit again.