Written Answers. - Regulatory Reform.

John Bruton

Question:

121 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Defence if he will make a statement on the adoption or otherwise by his Department of the recommendations made in the OECD review, Regulatory Reform in Ireland; and the concrete steps taken by his Department in pursuit of these recommendations since the publication of the report. [10782/03]

The defence sector has traditionally been highly regulated with most military matters governed by Defence Force regulations made by the Minister for Defence under the Defence Act. While this has had little or no adverse impact on business or the community, it has long been recognised in my Department that simplification and reform was necessary to keep pace with the ongoing modernisation of the sector and with best contemporary administrative practices.

In that regard my Department is currently engaged in an ongoing programme of reviewing Defence Force regulations with a view to their simplification and modernisation. Many of the provisions in the regulations are out-dated and overly detailed. While certain matters relating to the management of the Defence Forces will continue to be prescribed in regulations, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Defence Act, much of the administrative detail relating thereto will be the subject of administrative instructions which will be issued by the relevant senior military authority. The process of review, modernisation and rewriting of the Defence Force regulations and streamlining of administrative procedures will be actively continued into the future.
The report of the inter-departmental task force on the future management and development of the Curragh of Kildare, which was completed in 1999, recommended the consolidation of the existing Curragh of Kildare Acts and the Curragh by-laws into a single Act. The Government approved the main thrust of the report and the process of consolidating the legislation has begun. Currently, the draft heads of the Curragh of Kildare Bill, which will consolidate and update existing legislation and provide for a statutory authority to manage the Curragh, have been prepared and are under consideration in my Department. It is anticipated that the heads of the Bill will be submitted to Government by the end of September 2003 and that the Bill will be published in autumn 2004.
In another significant development, as part of the Attorney General's comprehensive programme of statute revision and consolidation, the draft text of the restatement of the Defence Acts was completed and is currently under consideration by the Office of the Attorney General. The restatement involves no substantive change in the legislation but is designed for ease of reference. It is hoped to have the restatement completed by the summer.