Extradition (Amendment) Bill, 1994: From the Seanads.

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

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

SECTION 2: In page 3, paragraph (b), lines 14 and 15, "or omission", deleted.

This is a purely technical amendment. On Report Stage we amended section 2 (b) of the Bill in response to an important point raised by Deputy McDowell. This point arose at the last minute and the draftsman had only a short time to prepare the amendment. At the end of the Report Stage debate Deputy McDowell drew attention to a possible drafting flaw in the 1987 Act and I undertook to look at the matter.

Since then, the matter has been looked at carefully and discussed with the draftsman and there is a drafting inconsistency which the draftsman considers should be rectified. Section 2 (b) of the Bill inserts a new subsection (3) (a) in section 3 of the Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1987. In this new subsection (3) (a) as amended on Report Stage reference is made to the act or omission constituting the offence. Because offences can be, on occasion, committed by an omission, it is standard drafting practice to include a reference to omission. However, section 1 (2) of the 1987 Act already provides: "References in this Act to an act include references to an omission and references to the doing of an act include references to the making of an omission." As a result, there is no need for the words "or omission" to be included in subsection (3) (a).

As it now stands the provision, in effect, results in duplication of the reference to omission. If it is retained in its present form it will result in drafting inconsistencies in the 1987 Act as, for example, the definition of a serious offence in section 1 of that Act refers to the act constituting the offence without any specific reference to the words "or omission". To avoid such drafting inconsistencies, and as the point is already covered by section 1 (2) of the 1987 Act, the amendment introduced in Seanad Éireann proposes to delete the words "or omission" from lines 14 and 15 on page 3 of the Bill.

What can I do except say that I agree. I would say one thing in addition. A piece of drafting of mine got such a going over from the Tánaiste last night in the House that I think we should, on occasion, be more considerate about what either side of the House puts before it. As I will not get into tonight's debate on that Bill, I would say that it was not drafted on the back of an envelope but took a long time to prepare and much hard work to get it right for Private Members' time. I fully agree with the Minister's proposal and will not delay the House any further.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment reported and agreed to.
Sitting suspended at 6.10 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.