Counterfeiting Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages

I join with colleagues who spoke on the Order of Business earlier in wishing my colleague, the Cathaoirleach, a happy first anniversary. I congratulate him on his stewardship during this difficult year. It has been an unusual and tumultuous experience. Well done to the Cathaoirleach.

I welcome the Minister of State. The room is very large so I ask that Senators indicate clearly if they wish to speak on any section. If I appear to be moving on, it is not that I am trying to thwart debate. Senators are welcome to intervene as I move along but I ask that they indicate very clearly with a big wave. I will not take it as a wave but as an indication that a Senator wishes to speak.

Sections 1 to 33, inclusive, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.

When is it proposed to take Report Stage?

Is that agreed? Agreed.

Bill received for final consideration.

When is it proposed to take Final Stage?

Is that agreed? Agreed.

Question proposed: “That the Bill do now pass.”

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Leas-Chathaoirleach. It is important that this legislation has passed, albeit seven or eight years too late. I can never, for the life of me, understand how it takes so long to transpose European directives into Irish law. This is a commonsense piece of legislation that is agreed by everybody. Going forward, if there is one lesson from this it is that we need to be doing these transpositions into Irish law a great deal more quickly. The directives are created for a good reason and the time delay was certainly not necessary and was regrettable.

That said, the legislation is greatly welcomed. The euro has served this country and the European Union well. We have to do everything that we can to protect the integrity of the euro. This legislation certainly embellishes the protection of the integrity of the euro which is something that has to be welcomed. The European project, in spite of Brexit, will thrive and we will see this occur post-pandemic. This project has knitted together and has acted very much in solidarity during the pandemic. The European Union has moved in unison. The European Union will never be stronger when we rebuild our continent post-pandemic. We need to do everything we can to protect the components, the currencies, the people, the citizens and the integrity of European project. Gabhaim buíochas.

I thank Senator Conway for that excellent impromptu intervention. Do any other Senators indicate their wish to contribute? I call Senator Gallagher.

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Leas-Chathaoirleach. I will not delay proceedings but I wish to acknowledge the work put into this by the Minister of State, Deputy Browne, since he came into office. Notwithstanding the delay referred to by Senator Conway, I am delighted that we are in this position today and that this legislation has now passed both Houses. I thank all who contributed to the debate during its passage through this House.

I thank the Leas-Chathaoirleach very much. I also want to thank the Cathaoirleach, Senator Daly, on the one-year anniversary of his holding of this office in light of the very significant amount of legislation that has been brought through the Seanad in the past year in a difficult period. This was primarily due to his stewardship and I congratulate him on that.

I also want to thank the Senators again for facilitating this legislation’s passage through the Houses. Senator Conway is correct in that there has been significant delay in the transposition of directives. When I was appointed to this position last September there were six long-standing Bills that needed to be transposed. Thanks to the good work of the Seanad in facilitating me, this is the fourth of those six to be passed. The other two are going through pre-legislative scrutiny this week and I expect that these will also be passed in the autumn. I agree with Senator Conway’s sentiments that when we catch up, which we will do by the autumn, there should be no further falling behind.

I thank my officials who have done a tremendous amount of work to ensure that we have been able to get these four pieces of legislation passed into law. The Counterfeiting Bill 2020 is another step by the Government and the Department of Justice in tackling criminal activity. It is a technical Bill but one of great importance in continuing our efforts to weaken criminals who are trying to undermine our State and European Union through the use of counterfeit notes and other actions. I thank the Leas-Chathaoirleach and the Seanad once again.

Question put and agreed to.

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Aire Stáit as na focail sin. The House stands adjourned until 9.30 a.m. on Friday, 2 July 2021 in the Convention Centre Dublin in accordance with the order of the Seanad today. Gabhaim buíochas libh uilig arís.

The Seanad adjourned at 12.07 p.m. until 9.30 a.m. on Friday, 2 July 2021.