Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Questions (172)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

173 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to introduce equality proofing of legislation. [4290/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

I have no plans to change the procedures already in place for considering the equality impact of legislative proposals. When considering changes to legislation, Government Departments follow procedures outlined in the Cabinet Handbook. These require that, where proposals for legislation relate to matters on which Government policy has not already been laid down, or where they involve a new development or a material departure from existing policy, they should first be submitted to the Government by way of a memorandum for a decision in principle of the policy at issue.

A Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) must accompany any such memorandum seeking approval for either legislation which involves changes to the regulatory framework, or a Government Order involving changes to the regulatory framework. This Analysis includes an examination of possible impacts on poverty, gender equality, on socially excluded or vulnerable groups including people with disabilities, and on rural communities.

Where no requirement for a Regulatory Impact Analysis arises, each memorandum is required to indicate clearly, as appropriate, the impact of the proposal for employment, gender equality, the impact on persons experiencing or at risk of poverty or social exclusion, and on people with disabilities.