Status of Children Bill, 1986: Motion for Recommittal.

Before we enter on Report Stage of this Bill, I should like to move that the Bill be recommitted in respect of the amendments tabled and only in respect of the amendments tabled. This is, as Members know, an unusual procedure, but I think it is appropriate in this case for two reasons. One is the nature of Committee Stage on which there were a large number of amendments tabled. They were not pressed, or voted on, because of the particular nature of the very valuable discussion which developed and the undertaking by the Minister to examine all the points raised before Report Stage.

The second reason flows from the fact that we have a very large number of amendments. Indeed, on the main sheet and an additional sheet the number of amendments is of the order of 100 and even with grouping this would give rise to difficulty if everybody were confined to a single speech on each group of amendments. Therefore, I think it is in the interests of the working of the House and of handling efficiently the amendments that are before us that the Bill should be recommitted in respect of the amendments and that this rare procedure should be used on this occasion.

I welcome the procedure outlined by the Leader of the House and, indeed, Senators were made aware that this would be the way in which the Bill would be approached on Report Stage and we have been furnished with the groupings which are proposed to be taken on Report Stage. Let me make two requests. Could we move very slowly from amendment to amendment, because it is an extremely complex Bill and between the amendments and the additional amendments it is often difficult to be sure that we have actually fully dealt with the particular issues?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I assure the Senator that we will be moving slowly while I am in the Chair. I do not know about the Cathaoirleach.

The other request is — this would depend on the progress made — that if we are making reasonable progress, the House might consider taking a break at a certain stage. It appears clear from the composition of the House at present that relatively few Senators will be considering the amendments, so if it were possible to have a break at a certain stage, it would ensure that we could continue to concentrate on the Bill.

That certainly will be taken into account. It is the desire of everybody that we give the Bill a thorough discussion without undue waste of time and as the afternoon goes on we can consider the question of when would be an appropriate time. I will observe the Minister and any Senators taking part for signs of wilting.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The other thing that might help Senator Robinson is that there is a grouping of amendments.

Agreed.