Legal Practitioners (Irish Language) Bill 2007: From the Seanad.

The Dáil went into Committee to consider amendments from the Seanad.
Seanad amendment No. 1:
Section 1: In page 8, subsection (3), between lines 8 and 9, to insert the following:
"(c) Any person who completed the degree course of barrister-at-law before the repeal by this Act of the Legal Practitioners (Qualification) Act 1929, who had not complied with section 3 of that Act, shall be deemed to have complied with that section.”.

Bheinn faoi chomaoin ag an gCeann Comhairle dá n-ornódh sé, de réir Bhuan-Ordú 136, do Chléireach na Dála athrú focal a dhéanamh ar thaobh na Gaeilge de leasú Uimh. 1. Ba cheart "1929", in áit "1927", mar bhliain an Achta a luaitear ar thaobh na Gaeilge.

Déanann an chéad leasú a rinne an Seanad fo-alt nua (c) a chur isteach in alt 1(3) den Bhille. Is é cuspóir don leasú ná chun déileála leis an taistriú, nó leis an tathrú, ón Acht Lucht Cleachtuithe Dlí (Cáilíocht) 1929 go dtí na forálacha nua sa Bhille. D’ardaigh an Teachta O’Shea an cheist seo níos luaithe, nuair a bhí an Bille os comhair na Dála. Gabhaim buíochas leis an Teachta as glacadh leis an dearbhú ón Aire, an tráth sin, go ndéileálfaí leis an tábhar seo le leasuithe sa Seanad.

Faoi alt 3 d'Acht 1929, ní féidir leis an bPríomh-Bhreitheamh a cheadú d'aon duine cleachtadh mar abhcóide dlí i gcúirteanna na hÉireann mura mbeidh sé sásta go bhfuil leor-eolas ag an duine sin ar an nGaeilge. D'fhonn an ceanglas sin a chomhlíonadh, déanann Óstaí an Rí socrú chun scrúdaithe Gaeilge a chur ar siúl gach bliain le haghaidh daoine a bhíonn ag freastal ar an gcúrsa céime abhcóide dlí. Aisghairtear Acht 1929 leis an mBille agus, i measc nithe eile a dhánntear leis an mBille, cuirtear dualgas ar dhaoine a bheidh ag freastal ar an gcúrsa céime abhcóide dlí freastal ar chúrsa teagaisc i dtearmaíocht dhlíthiúil na Gaeilge agus i dtuiscint téacsanna dlíthiúla sa Ghaeilge.

Maidir le líon beag céimithe de chuid Óstaí an Rí, ó bhlianta a chuaigh thart, ní bheidh éirithe leo sa scrúdú Gaeilge, roimh aisghairm Acht 1929, ar an mBille a achtú. Féadfaidh sé, freisin, nach mbeidh éirithe sa scrúdú Gaeilge, roimh aisghairm Acht 1929, le roinnt mac léinn a bhfuil céim á bhaint amach acu i mbliana. Cuirtear ceanglas leis an mBille ar dhaoine a bheidh ag freastal ar chúrsa céime abhcóide dlí Óstaí an Rí, freastal ar an gcúrsa téarmaíochta dlíthiúla, ach ní dhéantar aon cheanglas den sórt sin i gcómhair daoine a bhfuil an cúrsa céime abhcóide dlí críochnaithe acu cheana féin. Mar thoradh ar sin, ní thiocfaidh céimithe Óstaí an Rí nár éirigh leo sa scrúdú Gaeilge faoi réim an Bhille, nuair a thiocfaidh sé i gníomh.

Will the Minister's speech be circulated? If so, will it be as Gaeilge or as Béarla?

Is féidir é sin a dhéanamh. Is í an chomhairle dlí atá ar fáil don Aire ná go mbeidh, faoin Acht Léiriúcháin 2005, céimithe Óstaí an Rí ón am a chuaigh thart, nár ghlaoigh an Phríomh-Bhreitheamh chun an Bharra fós, faoi dhliteanas i gcónaí, tar éis aisghairme Acht 1929, ceanglais Ghaeilge an Achta sin a chomhlíonadh, más mian leo go nglaofar chun an Bharra iad tráth éigin ar ball. Chiallódh sé sin go mbeadh an Príomh-Bhreitheamh ag teastáil i gcónaí, go ceann tréimhse éiginnte, chun a dheimhniú dó fhéin go gcomhlíonann na daoine sin na ceanglais inniúlachta sa Ghaeilge de chuid an Achta 1929, fiú tar éis aisghairm an Achta sin.

Tugann an leasú aghaidh ar sin trí dheireadh a chur le haon dliteanas sa todhchaí ar an bPríomh-Bhreitheamh, de dhroim léiriúcháin Acht 1929, tar éis aisghairm an Achta sin. Baintear é seo amach trína mheas, i dtaca le haon duine a raibh an cúrsa abhcóide dlí críochnaithe aige nó aici roimh aisghairme Acht 1929, ach nach raibh alt 3 den Acht sin comhlíonta aige nó aici, gur chomhlíon sé nó sí amhlaidh é. Ar Acht 1929 a aisghairm, is é is éifeacht don leasú ná nach mbeidh feidhm a thuilleadh ar an gceanglas ar an bPríomh-Bhreitheamh a dheimhniú dó fhéin go bhfuil inniúlacht sa Ghaeilge ag duine a bheidh á ghlaoch chun an Bharra. Níl aon cheist dá shamhail sin ann i leith aturnaetha faoi oiliúint. Tá dearbhaithe ag an Dlí-Chumann nár díúltaíodh ainm aon duine a chur ar rolla na n-aturnaetha toisc gur theip air nó uirthi na ceanglais reachtúla i leith na Gaeilge a chomhlíonadh.

To summarise, a slight technical problem was raised by Deputy O'Shea. I want to refer to the technical aspect. The problem was that there was a requirement to have passed an Irish exam showing one had reached a standard of Irish to the satisfaction of the Chief Justice. The amendment provides that everybody who has completed the relevant course in advance of the enactment of the new legislation being finalised today will be deemed to have passed the Irish test. That is the nub of the issue. Deputy O'Shea called for this reasonable provision to be made. If it is not accepted, some will be in no-man's-land. The two amendments made in the Seanad deal with the issue in a reasonable way. It does not arise in the case of solicitors. My understanding is that nobody was refused entry in seeking to be a solicitor because he or she had failed the Irish exam and that this is a matter solely for those who have finished their course. The amendment attempts to deal with the issue raised by Deputy O'Shea.

I worked on the Bill and thank the Minister for taking on board concerns expressed on Committee Stage in this House and in the Seanad. I recall that he gave a commitment to consider the matter along the lines of the amendment. Nothwithstanding the fact that the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform does not do amnesties, this appears to be the closest thing to an amnesty. Níl an focal oiriúnach ar "amnesty" agam i nGaeilge.

I plead for an amnesty.

I am sure the Minister will oblige. It is important that a quota of people not be left in no man's land and the amendment appears to fit the bill. I welcome what the Minister has done and said.

I thank the Minister for bringing the amendment through the Seanad. I support it.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 2:
Section 5: In page 16, lines 16 to 20, to delete subsection (3).

Is rud an-ghearr é seo. Go bunúsach, níl aon ghá le hordú tosach feidhme, mar séard atá i gceist ná go dtiocfaidh an Bille i bhfeidhm ar an bpointe go n-achtófar é. The second amendment does away with the commencement provision in section 5(3). As the Bill will commence when it becomes law, there is no need for a commencement date.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendments reported.