I welcome the Minister of State back to the House. Last week, we were chatting about the elephant in the room and the need for the Minister of State to, perhaps, confront it. I will reach out to him with an olive branch, as he knows that is the way we work in Sinn Féin. It is very important that the Minister of State engages with us on the Bill. If his determination is just to reject amendment after amendment, we will push every amendment.
The amendment from Senator Higgins we are discussing is very reasonable. It states:
Within 12 months of the passing of this Act, the Minister shall lay before both Houses of the Oireachtas a report in respect of the impact and use of the provisions in this Act, including a consideration of compatibility with the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) guidelines, and their impact, if any, on the Revenue Commissioners.
This cuts to the core of our concerns as the truth is that because of the lack of pre-legislative scrutiny, we are not sure if there are pitfalls in this Bill. I have concerns.
I should also flag to the Minister of State that I was contacted by a journalist who maintains a submission was made to the his Department on this Bill by the industry and, effectively, it was effectively written by people in the industry. I am not making that claim but I am putting it to the Minister of State and I would like a response. The disturbing fact is that a copy of the submission was sought but the request was refused. I do not know the rights and wrongs of this but it is causing me particular concern. The Minister of State's job today is not just to drive through the Bill but it should be to engage with us constructively, take on board the concerns of both me and others and work with us in that regard.
There was a lack of pre-legislative scrutiny with this Bill. We know what has happened in the past week; I will not revisit it but the experience has been very uncomfortable for all us in the way the former Member left, almost in the middle of the night. When my colleague, former Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, left, he gave notice, came here and made a farewell speech. It is bizarre and worrying that somebody could leave on the type of terms we saw. I am not the only person who feels that way.
There are real concerns about the Bill. We do not know enough about it and we have not looked into it enough. We know in other jurisdictions these kinds of investments can lead to very poor practice, to put it mildly. I am not suggesting it is the case here but rather that there are concerns we must address before moving forward. My other key request is that the Minister of State agrees to a pause after Committee Stage so we can engage with the Minister and his Department on a cross-party basis to have a closer look at this Bill.
Perhaps we can agree on those points. I am not saying that we will let the Bill through freely if we do, because there are two or three key sections that really concern us, but we will work with the Minister of State in a constructive and positive way. If the Minister of State is not willing to do that, we will have a bit of argy-bargy for the next hour or so. It would not be the end of the world and we will get on with it, but I hope we can work constructively.