Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (266)

Carol Nolan

Question:

266. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Finance the details of all applications made by his Department to the Oireachtas Business Committee to waive pre-legislative scrutiny of primary and secondary legislation sponsored or initiated by his Department from 1 January 2017 to date; the outcomes of such applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37894/20]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The following table sets out all primary legislation for which my Department was responsible, other than the annual Finance Acts, enacted or initiated since the 1/1/2017. The table sets out whether pre-legislative scrutiny occurred in respect of each piece of legislation concerned. The annual Finance Acts are not subject to the pre-legislative scrutiny process so those acts are not included in the table. Similarly pre-legislative scrutiny is not routinely conducted in respect of secondary legislation so the table sets out the position with respect to primary legislation only.

In most cases my Department has written to the relevant Oireachtas Committee, asking whether the Committee wished to conduct pre-legislative scrutiny in respect of the legislation concerned. My Department would not ordinarily specifically apply for a waiver of pre-legislative scrutiny but would ordinarily set out the anticipated course of the legislation and ask the Committee whether they wished to conduct pre-legislative scrutiny of the legislation or not.

However I would draw your attention to the following pieces of legislation in respect of which a specific application for the waiver of pre-legislative scrutiny was made for the reasons set out below:

1. Home Building Finance Ireland Act 2018

The Home Building Finance Ireland Act 2018 was presented and selected for pre-legislative scrutiny, so no formal application to waive pre-legislative scrutiny was made. However in the end the Committee was unable to hold pre-legislative scrutiny in time. My Department submitted the Bill in February 2018, and by May 2018 my Department then requested to press ahead without pre-legislative scrutiny as time for the pre-legislative scrutiny had not been scheduled by the Committee and we needed to meet our deadline for having the agency operative by year end. The Committee agreed to the request, so no pre-legislative scrutiny was conducted.

2. Financial Provisions (Covid-19) Act 2020

The Financial Provisions (Covid-19) Act 2020 provided for Ireland’s participation in the EIB pan-European Guarantee Fund and the SURE Guarantee Agreement. Ireland could not participate in the EIB pan-European Guarantee Fund until the legislation was enacted. In relation to SURE, it was necessary for all Member States to sign the Guarantee Agreement before it came into effect. At the time, indications were received that most Member States planned to complete their parliamentary procedures by the end of June. Our Legislation was therefore required as soon as possible so as not to delay access to the SURE instrument across Europe. Given the urgency of both matters, permission was sought from the Business Committee under Standing Order 173 not to refer the General Scheme for pre-legislative scrutiny.

3. Financial Provisions (Covid-19) (No. 2) Act 2020

The Financial Provisions (Covid-19) (No.2) Act 2020 was part of a package of measures put in place to stimulate and support the economy as it resumed activity in line with the Government’s plans for the phased re-opening of the economy following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Act contained measures which sought to address the urgent challenges facing businesses as they re-opened and resumed activity in accordance with public health advice and Government decisions in the most effective way. The measures were necessary to ensure that businesses would be in the strongest position possible to respond to the re-opening of the economy. The measures had positive impacts on employment and ensured that as many people as possible would return to work and that they would return as early as possible. Given the urgency of the matters the subject of the Act, my Department applied for a waiver of pre-legislative scrutiny.

Title of Bill

Year initiated

Pre-leg scrutiny occurred?

Y/N

Application to waive pre-leg scrutiny made?

Y/N

Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman Act 2017

2017

Y

N

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Act 2017

2017

N

N

Insurance (Amendment) Act 2018

2018

Y

N

Markets in Financial Instruments Act 2018

2018

Y

N

Home Building Finance Ireland Act 2018

2018

N

Y (see below).

Finance (African Development (Bank and Fund) and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018

2018

N

N

Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Act 2018

2018

N

N

National Surplus (Reserve Fund for Exceptional Contingencies) Act 2019

2018

N

N

Credit Union Restructuring Board (Dissolution) Bill 2019

2019

N

N

Investment Limited Partnership (Amendment) Bill 2019

2019

N

N

Finance (Tax Appeals and Prospectus Regulation) Act 2019

2019

Y

N

Migration of Participating Securities Act 2019

2019

Y

N

Financial Provisions (Covid-19) Act 2020

2020

N

Y

Financial Provisions (Covid-19) (No. 2) Act 2020

2020

N

Y

Investment Limited Partnership (Amendment) Bill 2020

2020

N

N