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Legislative Reviews

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 25 January 2022

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Questions (567, 568, 569, 570)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

567. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if he will update the terms of reference for the review of the operation of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 to clarify that recommendations regarding the legal and policy framework that are within the scope of the review, in cases in which the evidence gathered suggests that operational challenges in access and experience of care are arising due to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3064/22]

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Róisín Shortall

Question:

568. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if he will update the terms of reference for the review of the operation of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 to reflect that an expert advisory group will be appointed to support the independent chair in assessing the evidence from the three strands of the review; if persons have been identified to serve on the advisory group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3065/22]

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Róisín Shortall

Question:

569. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the rationale he received regarding the need to publicly tender for the role of independent chair of the review of the operation of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018; if he engaged with other Departments to clarify if this approach coheres with those used previously, particularly the manner in which the chair of the Expert Group on the Provision of Support, including Accommodation, to Persons in the International Protection Process was selected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3066/22]

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Róisín Shortall

Question:

570. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if he will report on the appointment of an independent chair of the review of the operation of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018, following media reports that the process will be completed by the end of January 2022; if he plans to publicly tender for this role; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3067/22]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 567, 568, 569 and 570 together.

The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 was signed into law on 20 December 2018 and commenced on 1 January 2019. Under section 7 of the Act, a review of the operation of the Act must be initiated within three years of the commencement of the Act, i.e., before January 2022.

As I have stated previously, the review will comprise a three-part approach to appraise the operation of the Act, with strands focusing on service users, service providers and a public consultation. Independent research commissioned to inform the service user and service provider strands will form key elements of the review.

The review of the operation of the Act has now commenced. As part of the first phase of the review, I announced a public consultation (www.gov.ie/topreview) on the operation of the Act.

As I stated during my appearance before the Joint Committee on Health on 8 December, it is my intention to appoint an independent Chair to lead the second phase of the review of the operation of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018.

As the costs involved in contracting an independent Chair to conduct the review were estimated as exceeding €25,000, the legal advice I received was that the Department was obliged under procurement rules to tender for the appointment.

The tender process is currently in train. Given the expertise required for the position, a small number of candidates, identified as having suitable experience, were contacted and invited to apply for the role of independent Chair. It is my intention that the appointment will be made as soon as possible.

Discussions regarding a group to support the review of the operation of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 will be held with the independent Chair once an appointment has been made, so that he/she may have an input into its composition. I expect that the Chair appointed will also have an input into the terms of reference for the review, and any necessary clarifications.

Question No. 568 answered with Question No. 567.
Question No. 569 answered with Question No. 567.
Question No. 570 answered with Question No. 567.
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