I move amendment No. 1:
In page 3, between lines 26 and 27, to insert the following:
“Annual implementation report of recommendations of citizens’ assemblies
2. Within twelve months of the coming into operation of this Act and every twelve months thereafter, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government shall produce an implementation report on the recommendations of the following:
(a) Citizens’ Assemblies established—
(i) pursuant to a decision of the Government made on 11 June 2019 (each such body having been described by that decision as a citizens’ assembly), and
(ii) in accordance with resolutions of Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann passed before, on or after the commencement of this Act;
(b) Conventions on the Constitution established—
(i) pursuant to a decision of Dáil Éireann made on 10 July 2012 and Seanad Éireann made on 12 July 2012 (each such body having been described by that decision as a Convention on the Constitution), and
(ii) in accordance with resolutions of Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann passed before, on or after the commencement of this Act.”.
As I noted on Second Stage, a number of recommendations of the Citizens Assembly have not been implemented. The recommendation that the voting age in presidential elections be reduced to 16 years is a perfect example. This is due to a lack of political priority. I will side-track briefly on the question of presidential voting rights. We needed to see that legislation yesterday. It must be introduced as quickly as possible to give us the best chance of winning the referendum on the issue.
The amendment requires the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to publish an annual report that would list all recommendations of both conventions on the Constitution and citizens' assemblies. We should not allow a scenario to arise where we create assemblies and then allow only certain recommendations to debated by the Government or the people. We can disagree with recommendations but we should not stop the public from having a full hearing either in the Oireachtas or by referendum, depending on the recommendation.
The eighth report of the Convention on the Constitution dealt with economic, social and cultural rights. Following the report, the Government and Oireachtas made a mockery of one of its crucial recommendations, namely, the recommendation to introduce a constitutional right to a home. The members of the Constitutional Convention recommended that the report be referred to an Oireachtas joint committee for analysis and the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach was delegated as the correct forum for this purpose. Despite this, there have been no hearings on the report for more than four years. This is simply not good enough and the amendment would ensure that a light is shone when such delays arise. Delays undermine the true objectives the assemblies are created to achieve. The Government and Oireachtas should hold themselves to account in this regard.