Criminal Justice Bill 2004: Report Stage (Resumed).

I move amendment No. 117:

In page 52, between lines 33 and 34, to insert the following:

(7) Subsections (2) to (6) of this section apply and have effect in relation to a person convicted of a first offence under this section (other than a person who falls under subsection (8)(b) of this section), and accordingly references in those first-mentioned subsections to an offence under this section are to be construed as references to a first such offence.

(8) A person (except a person under the age of 18 years)—

(a) who is convicted of a second or subsequent offence under this section, or

(b) who is convicted of a first offence under this section and has been convicted of an offence under section 26, 27, 27A or 27B of the Firearms Act 1964 or section 12A of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act 1990,

shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than 10 years.".

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 118 not moved.

I move amendment No. 119:

In page 52, to delete line 34 and substitute the following:

"(9) Section 27C of the Firearms Act 1964".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 120:

In page 52, line 37, after "imposed" to insert "under subsection (4) or (8) of this section".

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 122 is related to amendment No. 121 and amendment No. 123 is consequential on amendment No. 122. Amendments Nos. 121 to 123, inclusive, will be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendmentNo. 121:

In page 53, line 33, after "may" to insert "at the earliest possible opportunity".

The amendment is self-explanatory. In all such cases the phrase "at the earliest possible opportunity" should be used instead of "when possible".

I sympathise with the view that matters should be dealt with expeditiously but the courts have other things to do. It is not usual to put into a provision in respect of a court's exercise of its jurisdiction that it will act at the earliest opportunity available, or words to that effect.

Amendments Nos. 122 and 123 are in my name. Section 30 as it stands provides that any person issuing a firearms certificate shall do so within three months. The section, however, does not provide for circumstances where the issuing person is unable or failed to issue the certificate within the prescribed period.

Amendment No. 122 provides that where a certificate does not issue within the prescribed period it will be deemed to have been refused so that the applicant can go to the District Court. If, for example, the superintendent had flu for the last week, the person who applied for the firearms certificate will not find himself or herself in the situation of having nothing against which to appeal. The licence will be deemed to have been refused and he or she will be able to go to the District Court to apply for the licence there.

Amendment No. 123 is a technical amendment.

I still do not see what the problem is in stating that the appeal must happen at the earliest possible opportunity. The previous provision contains a time line to the effect that "an appeal shall be made within 30 days of receipt of notice of the decision". I am not imposing a time limit on the appeal. The "earliest possible opportunity" allows for the possibility that somebody is ill but there cannot be an undue delay in the appeal.

I wish to refer to the Minister's amendments. I am concerned that the formula would be that if the statutory timeframe set out is not adhered to the licence would be deemed to have been refused. In most other instances, for example, planning permission, with which the Minister is conversant, it is deemed to be granted if it has not been dealt with in the proper statutory period. That is seen to put pressure on the regulatory authority to do the job in the timeframe set out.

There might be unique circumstances in which this might not happen but there should be some other mechanism whereby it goes to another authority. If, due to some unique set of circumstances, the normal statutory provision cannot be complied with, which is not the applicant's fault, he or she should not have the double burden of trying to reverse a refusal and the expense of going to court to do so. It seems it is not a citizen-friendly way to constitute the law. It might suit those involved in the administration to say that the citizen will have to carry the burden if the administration cocks up, but that is not the way normal things work anymore. The administration is expected to be efficient and to deliver for the citizen. The citizen should not be doubly burdened when the administration cannot deliver within the timeframe set out by the Oireachtas, for whatever reason.

I support Deputy Howlin to a certain extent. We need to consider what will happen in court if the officer who was responsible for issuing the certificate in the first place is not capable of indicating to the court the conclusions he reached on foot of the investigation he pursued up to that point. It seems that it has been decided to deal with the issue rather than to act in a justifiable manner. If the court learns that the certificate was not issued in time, it might consider that the issuing officer did not have time to conduct a proper investigation, or that the officer found something wrong with the application, and therefore decide that the application should be refused.

I take the point the Deputy is making. This State, unlike the US, does not provide a constitutional right to have a firearm.

It is the same as the right to drive a car or build a house.

There is no general right to have a firearm. The State does not have a presumption one way or another — it does not hold that everyone who wants a firearm can have one. The State's view is that having a firearm is a licensed and certificated activity.

Everyone must be treated equally.

That is the way Ireland works.

One must have a licence for one's car or one's television.

There is no presumption in favour of everybody who wants to have a firearm in their house. That is not the way Ireland has ever worked as an independent State.

Nobody is suggesting that.

We are not going down that road now. That is the first point.

That is a canard.

The second point is that if a superintendent asks for a psychiatric report but does not get co-operation from the psychiatrist — the psychiatrist may be on holiday or there may be no conclusive evidence——

He would refuse it.

Of course the superintendent can refuse to grant a certificate in circumstances of that nature.

The superintendent can refuse if he does not have the evidence on the last day.

Correct.

If he does not make a decision because he simply does not want to do so on the basis of nothing, he will be deemed to have refused. The applicant will not be in a worse position in such circumstances. I honestly believe we have to be clear about this. To possess a firearm is a matter of some consequence. To apply to the State for a permit to have a firearm is also a matter of some consequence. It is not the case that one gets the right to have a firearm, by default, whenever the State cannot think of a reason to the contrary or whenever something goes wrong in the system. I make no bones about saying I do not want unsuitable people to get firearms because they were given a permit when something went wrong. It is not the end of the world if people have to go to the District Court. The suggestion that it costs money to go to the District Court is not accurate. If one contacts one's local District Court clerk, either through its office or its website, one can fill out a form to make one's appeal oneself. The District Court is not a lawyer-driven court. Anybody who has a statable case, particularly somebody who has simply been let down by the system, should win that case as of right at an early hearing. I do not agree with the proposition that the default mode should be to issue a firearms licence — the default mode should be not to issue a licence.

I did not say that.

I did not say the Deputy said that. I am saying I do not agree with that proposition.

Nobody made such a proposition.

Applying to possess a firearm is not like applying for planning permission, for example. The possession of a firearm is a matter of such consequence that there should not be a presumption in favour of it. I think it should be a neutral proposition, at the best. Those who want to possess firearms should always carry the onus of proof.

The Minister started by half-agreeing with this proposal, but he then argued himself into opposing it. Nobody has suggested there should be a default mechanism whereby firearms licences are issued. I am saying there should be a standard. We should ensure that under the regime we establish — we are putting in place a set of law here — the citizens of Ireland can apply for such licences, regardless of whether it is a right. As long as citizens meet the criteria which are set by the Oireachtas, they have an entitlement. The problem is that everyone should be treated equally. I do not accept the notion, which the Minister seems to think is hunky-dory, that when our system breaks down, citizens should have to carry the burden. I do not think it is right, fair or in tune with modern thinking. It is in tune with the old-fashioned thinking, which I notice again and again in justice legislation, that citizens should have to go the extra mile and push the rock a bit further up, whereas the agencies of the State should not be required to deal with the citizenry properly, fairly, efficiently, effectively and in a 21st century way. That is the issue I am raising.

If the system we put in place fails, for whatever reason, citizens should not be penalised. They should have the right to go to somebody else, or there should be an automatic transfer or some other mechanism. It should not end in refusal. There should be a delay mechanism, or some other authorised officer should be required to make a decision within four weeks. There should be some other mechanism. It should not end in refusal — that carries a stigma because people think they have been refused for a reason. If one has to appeal, one is challenging a process in which one was not given a hearing in the first instance. Any decision to refuse is taken without one's side of the case having been heard or one's evidence having been weighed up. It is just a wrong supposition — that is my case in this regard.

I would like to add to what Deputy Howlin has said. If the courts system is so simple at District Court level that people can do the work themselves, how is the court expected to have the type of information that the issuing officer, who did not make the decision because he did not have the report from the psychiatrist, did not have in the first place? How does that pan out eventually? If the deciding officer does not have adequate information to make the decision and if the court process is as simple as the Minister claims it is, how can the court be in a position to make the decision?

Some 100 cases have to be dealt with each day.

Very briefly, there is no——

Does the House agree to allow the Minister to speak for a third time on these amendments?

I thought this was my second contribution on these amendments.

I do not know.

It is agreed to allow the Minister to speak.

This is his fourth time to speak.

It is the third time.

Perhaps I am counting wrongly. This is a matter of some consequence.

If, for whatever reason, an application is not granted to a superintendent——

By a superintendent.

——we are faced with two propositions. We could say it is deemed to be granted——

——or we could say it is deemed not to be granted and give the person a right to go to somebody who will deal with the issue.

It should be transferred to another officer for a month.

Yes, but——

It should not be refused.

——you have not tabled an amendment to that effect. Frankly, that is not——

You tabled your amendment for the first time today.

That is not on offer.

I ask Deputy Howlin to allow the Minister to conclude and I ask the Minister to address his remarks through the Chair.

I am proposing a means of dealing with this issue. I am proposing that people who do not meet the deadline should have some clear method of getting a decision in their favour. To provide for another officer really does not answer the question. It may not be the officer's fault — it may be that the psychiatrist would not produce the report, for example. It may be that the superintendent was operating to a deadline and decided not to make a decision because no evidence was available to him and he was in genuine doubt. In such circumstances, applicants are entitled to go to an impartial person and say they want a decision to be made.

That is an old-fashioned mindset.

The notion that it is based on the point of view of securocrats or people within the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform——

The possession of firearms is a very serious matter.

The citizen is always wrong.

If a person who got a licence by default killed somebody with a firearm——

Nobody suggested that.

——Deputy Howlin would be the first to ask——

Nobody suggested that until the Minister mentioned such a case.

——how the man in question got the licence in the first place.

The Minister is constantly building straw men to knock down.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 122:

In page 53, between lines 41 and 42, to insert the following:

"(5) For the purposes of this section—

(a) an issuing person—

(i) who is required under section 3(9), 4A(7) or 10(4F) to decide on an application within a specified period, and

(ii) who does not so decide,

is deemed to have decided to refuse to grant the application,

(b) the applicant is deemed to have received notice of the decision on the expiration of that period, and

(c) as the case may be, section 3(10) does not apply in relation to the application.”.

Amendment put and declared carried.

I move amendment No. 123:

In page 53, to delete line 42 and substitute the following:

"(6) The jurisdiction conferred on the District".

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 124 to 126, inclusive, are related and will be taken together.

I move amendment No. 124:

In page 54, line 40, after "station" to insert the following:

"or at any other place approved for the purpose by a superintendent of the Garda Síochána".

These amendments arise out of a discussion on Committee Stage in which there was a general consensus that there should not be an obligation simply to surrender weapons at a Garda station. Likewise the notion that an individual can walk into a station, claim he is "John Smith" and hand it over the counter would not be an acceptable situation. The three amendments are designed to deal with those scenarios which were the subject of universal agreement that there was room for improvement in the original drafting.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 125:

In page 55, line 4, to delete "name and address" and substitute "name, address and proof of identity".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 126:

In page 55, line 6, after "station" to insert "or place".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 127:

In page 58, line 40, to delete "subsection (6)" and substitute "subsection (5)".

This amends a typographical error.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 128:

In page 59, line 17, after ""firearm"" to insert ", where they first occur".

This is a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendmentNo. 129:

In page 60, to delete lines 8 to 13.

Question, "That the words proposed to be deleted stand", put and declared carried.
Amendment declared lost.
Amendment No. 130 not moved.

I move amendmentNo. 131:

In page 60, line 46, after "sentence" to insert the following:

"and

(c) the circumstances in which the offence occurred including any aggravating and mitigating factors, extent of violent behaviour, character, age, previous criminal record, family circumstances, expressions of remorse, whether alternatives to custody would be a more appropriate sentence or part thereof and the imperative to protect the public from harm”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 132:

In page 60, between lines 46 and 47, to insert the following:

"(7) Subsections (2) to (6) of this section apply and have effect in relation to a person convicted of a first offence under this section (other than a person who falls under subsection (8)(b) of this section), and accordingly references in those first-mentioned subsections to an offence under this section are to be construed as references to a first such offence.

(8) A person (except a person under the age of 18 years)-

(a) who is convicted of a second or subsequent offence under this section, or

(b) who is convicted of a first offence under this section and has been convicted of an offence under section 15 of the Principal Act, section 27, 27A or 27B of this Act or section 12A of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act 1990,

shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than 5 years.".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 133:

In page 60, to delete line 47 and substitute the following:

"(9) In proceedings for an offence under this".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 134:

In page 61, to delete line 1 and substitute the following:

"(10) Section 27C of this Act applies in relation".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 135:

In page 61, line 3, after "imposed" to insert "under subsection (4) or (8) of this section".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendmentNo. 136:

In page 61, to delete lines 34 to 39.

Question, "That the words proposed to be deleted stand", put and declared carried.
Amendment declared lost.
Amendment No. 137 not moved.

I move amendmentNo. 138:

In page 62, line 23, after "sentence" to insert the following:

"and

(c) the circumstances in which the offence occurred including any aggravating and mitigating factors, extent of violent behaviour, character, age, previous criminal record, family circumstances, expressions of remorse, whether alternatives to custody would be a more appropriate sentence or part thereof and the imperative to protect the public from harm”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 139:

In page 62, between lines 23 and 24, to insert the following:

"(7) Subsections (2) to (6) of this section apply and have effect in relation to a person convicted of a first offence under this section (other than a person who falls under subsection (8)(b) of this section), and accordingly references in those first-mentioned subsections to an offence under this section are to be construed as references to a first such offence.

(8) A person (except a person under the age of 18 years)-

(a) who is convicted of a second or subsequent offence under this section, or

(b) who is convicted of a first offence under this section and has been convicted of an offence under section 15 of the Principal Act, section 26, 27A or 27B of this Act or section 12A of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act 1990,

shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than 10 years.".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 140:

In page 62, to delete line 24 and substitute the following:

"(9) Section 27C of this Act applies in relation".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 141:

In page 62, line 26, after "imposed" to insert "under subsection (4) or (8) of this section".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendmentNo. 142:

In page 63, to delete lines 5 to 10.

Question, "That the words proposed to be deleted stand", put and declared carried.
Amendment declared lost.
Amendment No. 143 not moved.

I move amendmentNo. 144:

In page 63, line 43, after "sentence" to insert the following:

"and

(c) the circumstances in which the offence occurred including any aggravating and mitigating factors, extent of violent behaviour, character, age, previous criminal record, family circumstances, expressions of remorse, whether alternatives to custody would be a more appropriate sentence or part thereof and the imperative to protect the public from harm”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 145:

In page 63, between lines 43 and 44, to insert the following:

"(7) Subsections (2) to (6) of this section apply and have effect in relation to a person convicted of a first offence under this section (other than a person who falls under subsection (8)(b) of this section), and accordingly references in those first-mentioned subsections to an offence under this section are to be construed as references to a first such offence.

(8) A person (except a person under the age of 18 years)-

(a) who is convicted of a second or subsequent offence under this section, or

(b) who is convicted of a first offence under this section and has been convicted of an offence under section 15 of the Principal Act, section 26, 27 or 27B of this Act or section 12A of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act 1990,

shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than 5 years.".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 146:

In page 63, to delete line 44 and substitute the following:

"(9) Section 27C of this Act applies in relation".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 147:

In page 63, line 46, after "imposed" to insert "under subsection (4) or (8) of this section".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 148:

In page 63, to delete line 48 and substitute the following:

"(10) In the application of section 2 of the Crimi-".

Why is the term "Crimi-" used? It is the second time this broken word has been used in an amendment.

The amendment has already been discussed with amendment No. 115.

I just want to stop the gallop.

And give the Chair a chance to catch breath.

It is a case of deleting a line and inserting a different one. In this case the line will conveniently end with the broken word "Crimi-".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendmentNo. 149:

In page 64, to delete lines 30 to 35.

Question, "That the words proposed to be deleted stand", put and declared carried.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendmentNo. 150:

In page 65, line 21, after "sentence" to insert the following:

"and

(c) the circumstances in which the offence occurred including any aggravating and mitigating factors, extent of violent behaviour, character, age, previous criminal record, family circumstances, expressions of remorse, whether alternatives to custody would be a more appropriate sentence or part thereof and the imperative to protect the public from harm”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 151:

In page 65, between lines 21 and 22, to insert the following:

"(7) Subsections (2) to (6) of this section apply and have effect in relation to a person convicted of a first offence under this section (other than a person who falls under subsection (8)(b) of this section), and accordingly references in those first-mentioned subsections to an offence under this section are to be construed as references to a first such offence.

(8) A person (except a person under the age of 18 years)-

(a) who is convicted of a second or subsequent offence under this section, or

(b) who is convicted of a first offence under this section and has been convicted of an offence under section 15 of the Principal Act, section 26, 27 or 27A of this Act or section 12A of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act 1990,

shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than 5 years.".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 152:

In page 65, to delete line 22 and substitute the following:

"(9) In proceedings for an offence under this".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 153:

In page 65, to delete line 28 and substitute the following:

"(10) Section 27C of this Act applies in relation".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 154:

In page 65, line 30, after "imposed" to insert "under subsection (4) or (8) of this section".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 155:

In page 65, line 37, to delete "section 15(4)" and substitute "section 15".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 156:

In page 65, line 38, to delete "section 26(4), 27(4), 27A(4) or 27B(4)" and substitute "section 26, 27, 27A or 27B".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 157:

In page 65, line 40, to delete "section 12A(9)" and substitute "section 12A".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendmentNo. 158:

In page 65, to delete lines 44 to 47.

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 86; Níl, 11.

  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Ardagh, Seán.
  • Blaney, Niall.
  • Brady, Johnny.
  • Brady, Martin.
  • Breen, James.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Brennan, Seamus.
  • Callanan, Joe.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Carty, John.
  • Cassidy, Donie.
  • Connolly, Paudge.
  • Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Curran, John.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Tony.
  • Dennehy, John.
  • Devins, Jimmy.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Ellis, John.
  • English, Damien.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
  • Fleming, Seán.
  • Fox, Mildred.
  • Gallagher, Pat The Cope.
  • Glennon, Jim.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Harkin, Marian.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Healy-Rae, Jackie.
  • Hoctor, Máire.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Seamus.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Conor.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • McHugh, Paddy.
  • Moloney, John.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Michael.
  • Murphy, Gerard.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Nolan, M. J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • O’Connor, Charlie.
  • O’Dea, Willie.
  • O’Donnell, Liz.
  • O’Donoghue, John.
  • O’Flynn, Noel.
  • O’Keeffe, Batt.
  • O’Keeffe, Ned.
  • O’Malley, Fiona.
  • O’Malley, Tim.
  • Parlon, Tom.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Sexton, Mae.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Twomey, Liam.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Wilkinson, Ollie.
  • Woods, Michael.

Níl

  • Cowley, Jerry.
  • Cuffe, Ciarán.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Gogarty, Paul.
  • Gormley, John.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • Morgan, Arthur.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Ó Snodaigh and Morgan.
Question declared carried.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendmentNo. 159:

In page 66, to delete lines 5 to 13.

Question, "That the words proposed to be deleted stand", put and declared carried.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 160:

In page 66, between lines 17 and 18, to insert the following:

63.—The Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act 1990 is amended——

(a) by the repeal of section 4,

(b) in section 6(1), by the substitution of “paragraph (f) of the definition of ”firearm“ in section 1(1) of the Principal Act” for “section 4(1)(f)”, and

(c) in section 7(8), by the substitution of ”paragraph (g)(ii) of the definition of “firearm” in section 1(1) of the Principal Act“ for ”section 4(1)(g)“.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 161:

In page 66, to delete lines 18 to 44.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendmentNo. 162:

In page 68, to delete lines 19 to 25.

Question, "That the words proposed to be deleted stand", put and declared carried.
Amendment declared lost.
Amendment No. 163 not moved.

I move amendmentNo. 164:

In page 69, line 8, after "sentence" to insert the following:

"and

(c) the circumstances in which the offence occurred including any aggravating and mitigating factors, extent of violent behaviour, character, age, previous criminal record, family circumstances, expressions of remorse, whether alternatives to custody would be a more appropriate sentence or part thereof and the imperative to protect the public from harm”.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 165:

In page 69, between lines 8 and 9, to insert the following:

"(12) Subsections (7) to (11) of this section apply and have effect in relation to a person convicted of a first offence under this section (other than a person who falls under subsection (13)(b) of this section), and accordingly references in those first-mentioned subsections to an offence under this section are to be construed as references to a first such offence.

(13) A person (except a person under the age of 18 years)—

(a) who is convicted of a second or subsequent offence under this section, or

(b) who is convicted of a first offence under this section and has been convicted of an offence under section 15 of the Principal Act or section 26, 27, 27A or 27B of the Firearms Act 1964,

shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than 5 years.".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 166:

In page 69, to delete line 9 and substitute the following:

"(14) Section 27C of the Firearms Act 1964".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 167:

In page 69, line 12, after "imposed" to insert "under subsection (9) or (13)".

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 168 arises out of Committee Stage proceedings.

I move amendment No. 168:

In page 69, line 16, to delete "the Act" and substitute "the Act of 1976".

This is a simple drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 169 and 170 are related and may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 169:

In page 71, to delete lines 19 to 22 and substitute the following:

"(a) to enter the place named in the warrant at any time or times within—

(i) one week of the time of issue of the warrant, or

(ii) the time limit specified on the warrant,

whichever is the sooner, on production if so requested of the warrant and, if necessary, by the use of reasonable force,".

This amendment aims to reflect more accurately and specifically what should be shown on a warrant. This is necessary in light of the issues arising in the recent case of the serving of a warrant that was out of date. The amendment aims to ensure that an out-of-date warrant will not be served.

Under the section as it stands, a garda may, on foot of a search warrant, enter the place named in the warrant at any time or times within one week after the date of issue of the warrant on production, if so requested, of the warrant and, if necessary, by use of reasonable force. Warrants are normally issued for one week. This amendment, in the name of Deputy Jim O'Keeffe, proposes to include the words "or the time limit specified on the warrant". This is similar to Deputy O'Keeffe's amendment No. 24 which we have already discussed. As I said in reply to that amendment, I indicated on Committee Stage that I would consider further the issue of endorsing the warrant with the time and date of its expiration.

Having considered the matter, I am now advised this is a matter that would be more appropriate for rules of court. The endorsement of a warrant by way of court rules would mean that an error in its endorsement would not prove fatal to the warrant. As I said in reply to amendment No. 24, I will undertake to bring the views of the House on this matter to the attention of the court rules committees and thereby put forward for their consideration the idea that the expiry date of a warrant might be stated on its face.

Amendment No. 170 in my name is a drafting amendment.

Will this approach ensure there will be a specific date on each warrant and that gardaí, before they enforce a warrant, can be absolutely sure it is valid at that point in time?

The District Court deals with the vast majority of warrants and I intend to put this issue before its court rules committee. Unless there is some issue we have not considered, my preference is that a warrant should include on its face a clear indication of the time by which it is effectively dead. This means that somebody who is in charge of premises or in a home in respect of which a warrant is produced can immediately see whether it is already invalid or for how much longer it will remain valid. The applicable time limit will be clear.

The person who receives a warrant should know exactly what it means. At present, however, there is a rather legal and mathematical process where it is up for discussion whether the seven days for which a warrant is to remain open began at midnight on the day on which it was issued and expired at midnight six or seven days later or otherwise, depending on one's mathematics. It would be better if a warrant clearly stated the time and date of its expiration. Everybody would then have a clear view on when it was or was not in force.

The Deputy is aware of several recent cases where gardaí presented with warrants in their hands in the belief they were still in force. If one goes back to the Interpretation Act, however, one discovers they were erroneous in their legal interpretation of the documents they were holding. The easiest way around this is to state on the face of the warrant the time when it expires or is dead. Rather than do this through legislation, I would prefer if the courts, in particular the District Court, would consider the question of putting into its rules that the time at which the warrant expires should be clearly stated, in a box marked expiry time, so that everybody knows when a warrant is alive or dead.

If the Minister is happy that the day and time of expiry will appear on every warrant, that is acceptable. However, as we all know, if a warrant is served after the expiry date, the evidence recovered is not admissible in court. That has very serious consequences and we cannot afford to have uncertainty about this issue. If it should be stated in law, that should be done.

This amendment deals with part 6 of the Bill, about which we had long discussions on Committee Stage. There is no amendment from either side covering the issue upon which we reached some measure of agreement. I hope there is an extant copy of the 1875 Act available now. It was scarce when we were looking for it. The Minister indicated that there was only one copy in existence, which was far too precious to share with the Opposition. We were amending an existing enactment somewhat in the dark.

With regard to the general discussion on Committee Stage, the Minister will recall that a consensus was reached that we should have flexibility with regard to allowing for the proper use of fireworks. This part of the Bill is designed to tighten the law to make explosive materials such as bangers harder to access and use. By and large, all Members agree with that. However, we discussed in some detail the possibility of providing for proper community fireworks for special occasions. Neither side, probably because of the time limits under which we are operating, addressed that by way of further amendment. Does the Minister have further views on that issue or is it a matter to which we must return at a later date?

With regard to the question of community fireworks, I accept that the consensus politically is that there should be a well established and operable system allowing for people to mount a fireworks display. At the moment, the legislation is very much importation oriented. I accept the Deputy's implied point that this is not a very satisfactory state of affairs. However, I am dealing with the Bill as I have it and there will be another occasion to address this. What I have done is put in place a workable law. If someone imports fireworks into Ireland for sale illegally, he or she can be arrested and the produce seized. There will be significant penalties for possession of fireworks with intent to supply.

I reiterate the point I made on Committee Stage that this is a matter which caused me some degree of difficulty. I could say categorically, with regard to fireworks, that they will damage children. However, I could say the same about bicycles — if there were no bicycles, many children would not suffer injuries.

Sweets are deadly for the teeth.

It is not a matter of principle but of degree. Public opinion research carried out by my Department tends to support the proposition that the majority of people do not want the law to be changed but want it to be made effective. Though it may sound slightly intellectually cowardly to rely on an opinion survey for one's guidance in such matters, that is where I am at present and that is where the people are too.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 170:

In page 72, line 41, before "does" to insert "except in subsection (1)(b)”.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 171 to 177, inclusive, are related and will be discussed together.

I move amendmentNo. 171:

In page 73, to delete lines 11 to 40 and to delete pages 74 to 77.

Is é an rud atá i gceist ag an leasú seo agus na leasuithe ina dhiaidh sin, Uimh. 171 go 177, le chéile, ná fáil réidh leis an chuid seo den Acht ina hiomláine ó líne 11 ar leathanach 73 ar aghaidh go dtí leathanach 77. Sin an chéad leasú, agus muna bhfuil an tAire sásta glacadh leis, tá roinnt leasuithe eile agam le cuidiú leis an damáiste a mhaolú.

We are opposed to the inclusion of Part 7 in the Bill. It would be very easy and it would make me very popular to say that we should tackle organised crime and this is the way to do it. There are organised gangs in my area who are creating havoc in communities that I represent. Other Members in this House represent similar communities and they know of the destruction caused by various groups of drug dealers, thugs and so forth. However, to describe them as an "organisation", as this section does, is a misnomer. Part of our job in this House is to make good law, law that will stand up. We believe that there are many other provisions in legislation relating to crime which could be used to greater effect than they are at present and that would have the same effect the Minister intends in this part of the Bill.

I support the view that the existing law is sufficient and that the Minister's current proposal lacks clarity. The Constitution of this State demands clarity and certainty in our laws but this part of the Bill lacks both. The Irish Human Rights Commission questioned whether the proposals were necessary or proportionate responses to the problem of organised crime. It was positive in its comments. It stated: "The IHRC is of the view that the activity which is targeted here is already subject to appropriate criminal sanction, through existing common law and statute which prohibit conspiracy to commit an offence and prohibit the aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring of an offence."

Much of this part is based on the proposal on the part of the Canadian criminal code, which the Supreme Court of British Colombia recently found to be in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Irish Human Rights Commission outlines how the Supreme Court of British Colombia found section 467.13, as it incorporates the definition of a criminal organisation in section 467.1 to be in violation of section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Human Rights Commission adds:

Section 467.13 of the Canadian Criminal Code prohibits a person who is one of the group of persons which constitutes a criminal organisation from instructing, directly or indirectly, any person to commit an offence for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with the criminal organisation. This offence attracts a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The Court explored the definition of a criminal organisation in the Canadian Criminal Code and observed that under this definition the boundaries of membership of the "group" are not clearly delineated.

That offence attracts a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The court explored the definition of "criminal organisation" and observed that under that definition, the boundaries of membership of the group were not clearly delineated. The same holds true in what the Minister has put before us. It went on to explain further the outcome of that judgment.

The Constitution requires certainty in law that offences created by statute must be expressed without ambiguity. The European Convention on Human Rights requires foreseeability of the law, that is, the law must be formulated in such a way that a person can foresee, to a degree reasonable in the circumstances, the consequences that a given action will entail. The proposed new offences are so vague they do not satisfy either of the criteria I have mentioned.

I propose several amendments with the aim of neutralising some of the worst aspects of the proposals and the way in which they are framed, if the Minister is not willing to accept my first amendment, No. 171. The Minister's proposals are worded in such a way that one might almost be found guilty of an offence for baby-sitting a possible criminal's children, as the prosecution would not have to prove that a criminal offence was committed but only that one's actions contributed to the committal of an offence, that one knew anything about an offence already committed, or that one knew of any other persons in the criminal organisation. By deleting several subsections my amendments attempt to limit the scope for abuse of these proposed offences. Considering that this is an offence of strict liability with no element of fault, the sentence may be disproportionate.

The Minister's response to the very real problem of gangland crime is introducing surplus legislation that misses the point completely. We need to resource the Garda better, giving it the equipment to tackle this aspect of crime head-on. They need the best cars, proper communications systems, and proper Garda stations rather than the run-down shacks that they have. As a priority, the Minister must accelerate the civilianisation process, and I would be first to congratulate him on the substantial work that he has done hitherto. However, a great deal more remains to do so that those trained in crime-fighting are not confined to barracks or pen-pushing when their experiences and training might be put to better use tackling head-on the crimes the Minister intends to address in this section.

I agree with much of what the previous speaker said. I worry about the vagueness of this section and that parts of the legislative model on which it is based, from British Columbia in Canada, have been struck down by the province's courts. I agree that the Garda needs the right resources for the job. I am concerned that much of the emphasis these days is on helicopters and four-wheel-drive vehicles. I would much rather see an emphasis on learning from best practice abroad, improving the education of police in Templemore and elsewhere and exposing potential members to what their peers in other third level educational establishments are learning during their education. That would help, as would better administrative back-up and computing resources.

I am very concerned at the thrust of this section, which implies that those who contribute or participate in any activity of a criminal organisation can be guilty of an offence. That goes too far, since it crosses a line in the sand. In the wrong hands, it could be used to threaten individuals who have not committed a criminal offence and have no intention of doing so. I am very mindful of the concerns put to us by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and those concerned with human rights. I therefore oppose this section.

Deputies Ó Snodaigh and Cuffe oppose Part 7 of the Act. It will come as no surprise to them that I do not propose to drop it, since I am advised that it is necessary to allow for transposition of our obligations under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the European Union joint action on making it a criminal offence to participate in a criminal organisation.

In addition, consensus was achieved at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 28 April 2006 on a proposal for a Council framework decision on the fight against organised crime. The proposed framework decision will, when adopted, supersede the European joint action. Subject to an examination of the final text of that instrument, Part 7 of this Bill will, in the main, enable Ireland to meet its obligations under the proposed framework decision, although it draws to some extent on the Canadian criminal code. In the circumstances, it is rather unrealistic to seek deletion of this part, since it would require us to opt out at both European and UN level.

For the benefit of the House, I will briefly set out what the part contains. Essentially, it creates three offences targeting the activities of those involved in a criminal organisation and those who may commit offences for the benefit of such organisations. For the purposes of Part 7, a criminal organisation is defined in accordance with the language of international law as a structured group, however organised, which is composed of three or more persons acting in concert, is established over a period of time, and has as its main purpose or activity the commission or facilitation of one or more serious offences to obtain, directly or indirectly, financial or other material benefit.

That definition is in line with the wording of relevant articles in both the United Nations convention and the European joint action. In particular, the definition included specific reference to the phrase "structured group" to provide that the persons are acting in concert, that the purpose or main activity of the organisation is the commission or facilitation of offences, and that they are for the purpose of financial or other material benefit.

Case law in Canada, which has been mentioned, and in particular the judgment of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in the case of the Crownv. Accused No. 1 and Accused No. 2 in December 2005, considered the relevant provisions of the Canadian criminal code. It raised some concerns about the vagueness of the definitions in it. The Irish Human Rights Commission commented on the case and recommended to the Government that the definition of a criminal organisation be in line with that in the UN convention and the European joint action. That is exactly what I have done. The definition that I have given conforms to the Commission’s recommendations.

The offences are provided for in sections 71 to 73, inclusive. Section 71 gives effect to the conspiracy aspect of Article 2 of the joint action on participation in criminal organisations and Article 5 of the UN convention. The common-law offence of conspiracy referred to by Deputy Ó Snodaigh covers conspiracies committed abroad to commit an act in the State but not conspiracies committed in Ireland to commit an act abroad.

To meet our international obligations, the offence of conspiracy is created to encompass conspiracy to commit a serious offence, that is, an act that attracts a penalty of four years or more, whether committed in the State or outside. That is unusual, since we normally say that five years is the threshold for a serious offence. Extraterritorial jurisdiction is provided for regarding conspiracies committed outside the State, bringing jurisdiction into line with the specific circumstances set out in the UN convention. The section provides for some partial restatement of our current law.

Section 72 provides for a new offence of knowingly contributing to or participating in any activity of a criminal organisation for the purpose of enhancing its ability to commit or facilitate a serious offence. This provision is based on the provisions in the Canadian criminal code but also draws on the relevant provisions in the joint action on participation in criminal organisation and Article 5 of the UN convention.

I have put on record the potential problems with this type of offence. I am not blind to and understand these potential difficulties, in particular, the fact that relationships in criminal organisations are frequently fluid, complex and more a state of mind that a provable state of fact. Prosecuting an offence of this nature will be challenging and proving the offence will be difficult. However, on balance, there is value in having this offence on our Statute Book even if, in the circumstances, the occasions on which it can be prosecuted will be comparatively rare.

A successful prosecution of this offence will almost certainly require one of the participants in a criminal organisation to act as a supergrass. I do not believe that sustained evidence of the type necessary to prove what had happened beyond reasonable doubt could be obtained in the absence of someone on the inside. Mere observation from the outside would need to be very clever, well documented and corroborated to prove the ingredients of the offence. One must be very careful in dealing with what is colloquially known as supergrass evidence to ensure it is not tainted. The courts in Ireland are very careful in this regard. I have never been under any illusion and have never given the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights any impression that this will be anything other than a very difficult offence to prosecute.

If I were to say that because this offence was going to be so difficult to prosecute and because it was going to be so rare to secure sufficient evidence to mount a prosecution, we would forget about the issue, I would then have to say to the UN and the EU that I am not interested in the UN convention and the views of the EU because they are slightly academic. If Ireland took such a course of action in respect of clear obligations and a framework decision coming down the tracks and took the view that they did not apply to it because these crimes could not happen within its borders, it would be a remarkable and egregious stance to take. We should not take such a stance unless we are forced to do so.

Section 73 provides for the new offence to be punishable by up to ten years' imprisonment in respect of the commission of an indictable offence by a person with the purpose of benefiting a criminal organisation or committing the offence of the direction of or an association with a criminal organisation. If a person steals a car for a criminal organisation and there is evidence of the existence of such an organisation and the supergrass witness is able to testify that the person in question knowingly stole the car for that organisation, the offence carries a ten-year penalty, which is a serious one. This offence is modelled on a Canadian provision to the same effect.

The creation of these offences is mainly aimed at fulfilling our international obligations but the provisions also draw on some provisions of the Canadian criminal code, where useful. Organised crime is a transnational problem and it is important that we signal our support for international efforts to combat it by making the necessary legislative provisions to enable the State to meet its obligations.

Amendment No. 172 proposes an addition to the definition of criminal organisation by providing that it must be established over a period of more than three months. The definition of a criminal organisation in section 70(1) replicates the definition in the UN convention and the EU joint action. Both refer to the group being formed over a period but neither includes a specific period. Accordingly, I do not propose to accept amendment No. 172.

Amendment No. 173 proposes to delete subsection 2 in section 70. I do not propose to accept this amendment. Subsection 2 is necessary from a drafting perspective, having regard to the definition of criminal organisation contained in the section which refers to the facilitation of one or more offences. It is essential from a substantive perspective. In the absence of subsection (2), the question of proof of knowledge of a particular offence and proof of the commission of a criminal offence arises to prosecute a person successfully for the offence of participating in a criminal organisation. In this event, we would be adding layers which would simply make it far too difficult to prosecute and the provision would become unworkable and redundant. Subsection (2) is, therefore, necessary to ensure that the prosecution of relevant offences can be brought forward.

The offence which is provided for by section 72 requires the individual to participate knowingly or contribute in any way to the activity of the organisation for the purpose of enhancing the ability of the criminal organisation to commit crime. Individuals who knowingly engage in such activities deserve criminal sanctions. Amendment No. 174 proposes the insertion of the word "knowingly" in the lead-in to section 72. I do not propose to accept this amendment. It is superfluous, given that the word "knowingly" already appears in the subsection. As I have already stated, the offence created by section 72(1) is one of knowingly contributing to or participating in the activity of a criminal organisation.

Amendment No. 175 seeks the deletion of section 72(2). This subsection provides for a number of matters which the prosecution does not need to prove. I do not propose to accept this amendment. Subsection (2) mirrors some aspects of the EU joint action and appears in its entirety in the Canadian criminal code. As I have already stated, the essence of this offence is knowingly participating in or contributing to the activities of criminal organisations for the purpose of enhancing its ability to commit serious crime. In such circumstances, where the individual is aware of the criminal aims of the organisation and actively assists it, it is reasonable to provide that it is not necessary to prove the matter specified in subsection (2). If such proofs were made necessary, I suggest the chances of a successful prosecution would go from rare to zero.

Amendment No. 176 is similar to amendment No. 173 and seeks the deletion of section 72(4). This subsection provides that facilitation for the purpose of this section does not require knowledge of a particular offence, the commission of which is facilitated, or that an offence be committed. Therefore, I do not propose to accept amendment No. 176.

Amendment No. 177 proposes to delete section 73(2). This subsection provides that the prosecution does not need to prove that the person knew any of the persons who make up the criminal organisation for which he or she has committed a criminal offence. I do not propose to accept this amendment. The Canadian criminal code provides a precedent and it appears that the manner in which criminal gangs operate is that although an individual may not have direct contact with members of the group, he or she may, by means of instructions from a middle man, be knowingly involved in committing criminal offences for the gang. Therefore, it is necessary to make the provisions in subsection (2).

Originally, I did not believe it would be possible to do what some people suggested to me at the time, namely, establish the offence of being part of a criminal organisation, make a chief superintendent's opinion admissible evidence of this fact and imprison the Mr. Bigs through the mechanism. However, in the course of the examination of this issue by my Department, we learned about a number of international developments coming down the tracks. Rather than forget about the area with the aim of returning to it on a later occasion, we decided to deal with it in this part of the Bill.

Nobody should be under the illusion that it will be anything other than very difficult for the Garda Síochána and the Director of Public Prosecutions to bring about a successful prosecution under this provision and nobody should believe that this provision will be the answer to all our problems. I have never pretended it would be. From the beginning, I expressed a considerable degree of concern that the illusion would be created that this Bill would end organised crime simply by criminalising it and that it would then be a simple matter for the Garda to collect evidence, arrest those concerned, prosecute them under some massive indictment and all our problems would cease. This will not happen.

I share the views of Deputies Ó Snodaigh and Cuffe that a great deal of this issue is difficult territory. While I do not go as far as they do, that is, to assert that it is so difficult and nebulous as to be constitutionally infirm, it will not be the bread and butter of the fight against crime. I agree with the Deputies that the bread and butter of that fight will be gumshoe work on pavements, people knocking on doors, searches, resources, gardaí on the street and conventional activities. This provision is not a panacea, substitute, magic wand or, by itself, something that will transform our situation.

I note the Minister's health warning on Part 7 dealing with organised crime. When this issue first came before the Select Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights, the Minister threw more than cold water on the suggestion. I am glad an effort has been made by way of amendment to tackle the issue of organised crime.

I am more sanguine than the Minister about the possible effectiveness of these provisions. There have been international developments — the situation in Canada to which we have all pointed. The experience following the turf wars in Quebec a dozen years ago led to similar types of provisions there. I am not overly concerned about constitutional infirmity, as the provisions are in accordance with the Constitution.

I take the Minister's point concerning proof, an issue that we should perhaps examine further. The House is right to welcome and endorse a basic framework. If the issue confronting us is one of evidence, we should look at the whole issue of supergrasses, who are sometimes referred to in derogatory terms. It is great if criminals can be encouraged to——

——give evidence against their fellow criminals. For whatever reason, these people are prepared to give evidence and tell the truth and should be supported. That brings into question the whole issue of what is commonly known as the witness protection scheme. I wonder whether we have sufficiently developed it. In the Minister's response to a recent parliamentary question, I was particularly concerned to note that the amount of money spent on witness protection had halved in the past year from €1 million to €500,000. Some years ago during the Gilligan appeal, I also strongly noted the views on the scheme expressed by Mr. Justice McCracken.

Having put the provisions on organised crime into place, the next job for the House, the Government or the next Government will be to examine the operations of the witness protection scheme and determine whether they can be developed or put on a statutory basis or whether we could have guidelines that would be fully acceptable by the courts. I am not referring to any particular case. Rather, I am referring to the broad principle.

In other countries, witness protection schemes have had a significant role in dealing with organised crime and I encourage all colleagues who have a genuine interest in dealing with crime, particularly organised crime, to examine this matter. In the meantime, I am glad the Minister has taken on board the need to put the framework in place. I particularly compliment the officials in his Department and the Attorney General's office, who have recently received some criticism, on the way in which they have devised the scheme, which stands up. I endorse their efforts.

Let us view these provisions as a considerable building block. As the Minister said, let us not overemphasise their initial importance in the fight against crime, but we should determine how to develop that building block. This challenge confronts us all. So far, so good; sufficient unto the day.

While I have not tabled any amendments to this Part, I acknowledge that this is a difficult area. Legislating for the area is one matter, but a set of concrete results is another.

We must address the issue of organised crime in a way that we did not previously. While the Minister has rightly said that normal detective work, police investigation and gathering of evidence will be the mainstay of any anti-criminal activity, we must think outside the box. It is clear that organised crime inasmuch as the drugs industry is concerned has become a billion euro industry in this State. It is a multinational industry that links serious criminals resident abroad, drug cartels resident in drug producing countries and current or former paramilitaries who were engaged in nefarious activities and have since turned into pure criminals.

We need instruments on a transnational basis to deal with these matters, which is not simple to do. We need to fit them into our constitutional requirements. I fully accept the Minister's view, as my legal advice is that the purpose in question is met by the instrument before the House. No more than the Minister do I pretend that this is a great panacea to beat organised crime or smash the operations of those resident in the Netherlands or Spain who deal with Columbia or elsewhere to import drugs into Ireland, but it gives us a starting point, a structural framework to signal good intent.

I agree with Deputy Jim O'Keeffe in that we need to consider and learn from other jurisdictions that have greater experience of dealing with organised crime. A new and valuable resource in that is the new inspector general of the Garda Síochána appointed by the Minister who brings a wealth of experience and wisdom that could help us, not only in reforming how the Garda operates, but possibly in instructing us on how the law could be better shaped to meet the purposes of Ireland's changed environment.

I wanted to make these general points because, at another time, I might be minded to readily agree with the thoughtful and proper views expressed by my colleagues in the Sinn Féin and Green parties, but there are large issues for the State to deal with and we have a responsibility to deal with them as best we can. I commend the Minister and his officials for making an honest effort to shape an international framework of law, transpose it into domestic legislation and set about dealing with organised crime, which is a significant developing scourge that goes beyond the relevant current instruments. We need to be vigilant to discover what best practice exists elsewhere, whether it be the Canadian or the US model, which we can utilise to smash criminal conspiracies of this sort. I do not believe the babysitter will be apprehended but fear that nobody will be caught on the basis of this framework. There may be an odd occasion when a kind of supergrass emerges to blow the cover of a criminal conspiracy and we must have the structures to ensure that can happen.

I will also enter the caveat that supergrass evidence alone is an insubstantial measure on which to build an entire case. It must be augmented by hard evidence but it is not a bad starting point. Even the fear of a structure that can expose gangs will put additional pressure on organised crime and would be welcome.

I will be brief because I have already outlined my opposition to this section. It is the tenth anniversary of the killing of Veronica Guerin and that case proves we already have in place the laws and the ability to deal with such crimes.

One person is in custody.

We will not get much more with this section.

The Deputy is probably right.

Unfortunately.

Part of the problem is that inadequate spadework or gumshoe was used and, in the case of Veronica Guerin, there was pressure to deliver too quickly, which is why some of the prosecutions failed. Furthermore, we already have laws to cover what are anticipated to emerge from the UN Convention and the European joint position and I do not think the case for this section has been properly made.

I am concerned that, if I heard him correctly, the Minister appeared to anticipate the resolution of an EU joint position.

It is a framework decision.

We were talking about a draft. I am somewhat nervous that we would be putting the cart before the horse by passing legislation this week that might be modified at the level of a European instrument in the not too distant future. After hearing the Minister's statement I am a little more nervous about this part of the Bill than I was before. He expressed reservations about it and felt it would not be hugely successful in its ability to apprehend those he targets. I remain opposed to it.

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 103; Níl, 14.

  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Ardagh, Seán.
  • Blaney, Niall.
  • Brady, Johnny.
  • Brady, Martin.
  • Breen, James.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Brennan, Seamus.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Callanan, Joe.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Carty, John.
  • Cassidy, Donie.
  • Connolly, Paudge.
  • Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Curran, John.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Tony.
  • Dennehy, John.
  • Devins, Jimmy.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Ellis, John.
  • English, Damien.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
  • Fleming, Seán.
  • Fox, Mildred.
  • Gallagher, Pat The Cope.
  • Glennon, Jim.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Harkin, Marian.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Hayes, Tom.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Healy-Rae, Jackie.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hoctor, Máire.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Seamus.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Conor.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • McHugh, Paddy.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Moloney, John.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Michael.
  • Murphy, Gerard.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • O’Connor, Charlie.
  • O’Dea, Willie.
  • O’Donnell, Liz.
  • O’Donoghue, John.
  • O’Flynn, Noel.
  • O’Keeffe, Batt.
  • O’Keeffe, Jim.
  • O’Keeffe, Ned.
  • O’Malley, Fiona.
  • O’Malley, Tim.
  • O’Shea, Brian.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • Parlon, Tom.
  • Pattison, Seamus.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Quinn, Ruairi.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Sexton, Mae.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Twomey, Liam.
  • Upton, Mary.
  • Wall, Jack.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Wilkinson, Ollie.
  • Woods, Michael.

Níl

  • Boyle, Dan.
  • Cowley, Jerry.
  • Cuffe, Ciarán.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Gogarty, Paul.
  • Gormley, John.
  • Higgins, Joe.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • Morgan, Arthur.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Ó Snodaigh and Boyle.
Question declared carried.
Amendment declared lost.

As it is now after 10.30 p.m., I am required to put the following question in accordance with an Order of the Dáil of this day: "That the amendments set down by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform that are not disposed of are hereby made to the Bill, that Fourth Stage is hereby completed and that the Bill is hereby passed."

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 101; Níl, 14.

  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Ardagh, Seán.
  • Blaney, Niall.
  • Brady, Johnny.
  • Brady, Martin.
  • Breen, James.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Brennan, Seamus.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Callanan, Joe.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Carty, John.
  • Cassidy, Donie.
  • Connolly, Paudge.
  • Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Curran, John.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Tony.
  • Dennehy, John.
  • Devins, Jimmy.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Ellis, John.
  • English, Damien.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
  • Fleming, Seán.
  • Fox, Mildred.
  • Gallagher, Pat The Cope.
  • Glennon, Jim.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Harkin, Marian.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Hayes, Tom.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Healy-Rae, Jackie.
  • Hoctor, Máire.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Seamus.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Conor.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • McHugh, Paddy.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Moloney, John.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Michael.
  • Murphy, Gerard.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • O’Connor, Charlie.
  • O’Dea, Willie.
  • O’Donnell, Liz.
  • O’Donoghue, John.
  • O’Flynn, Noel.
  • O’Keeffe, Batt.
  • O’Keeffe, Jim.
  • O’Keeffe, Ned.
  • O’Malley, Fiona.
  • O’Malley, Tim.
  • O’Shea, Brian.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • Parlon, Tom.
  • Pattison, Seamus.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Sexton, Mae.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Twomey, Liam.
  • Upton, Mary.
  • Wall, Jack.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Wilkinson, Ollie.
  • Woods, Michael.

Níl

  • Boyle, Dan.
  • Cowley, Jerry.
  • Cuffe, Ciarán.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Gogarty, Paul.
  • Gormley, John.
  • Higgins, Joe.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • Morgan, Arthur.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Boyle and Ó Snodaigh.
Question declared carried.