I move amendment No. 1:
In page 5, line 23, after "provisions" to insert "but not later than six months after the passage of this legislation by both Houses of the Oireachtas".
The background to this amendment is that this legislation has been a long time in gestation, as the Minister will be aware. It has been badly needed for a long time. It has been very slow to reach its present stage. We want to make sure it is enacted and brought into force as quickly as possible. I proposed an amendment on Committee Stage to provide that the legislation had to be in force within 12 months, at a maximum. Many of my colleagues on the committee felt this period was too long. Some wanted a period of three months while others wanted six months. As a result, I decided to recast the amendment to provide that the legislation would come into force within six months. I note that the Minister, in responding to my amendment on Committee Stage, said it was impossible to include what I proposed because we could not rule out the constitutional process that includes the President, the Council of State and the referral of the Bill to the Supreme Court. In other words, the Minister was saying there is always a possibility that the Bill may be referred to the Supreme Court under Article 26 of the Constitution and that this might defeat the timescale. I point out to her, however, that under Article 26.2.1° of the Constitution, it is provided that the President must make a decision on referral to the Supreme Court within seven days of receipt of the Bill, and then the Supreme Court has a limited time within which to make a decision, that being not more than 60 days. I do not believe that is an impediment to accepting the amendment I propose.