Deputy Naughten has proposed the two interrelated technical amendments regarding the placement of section 1 of this Bill and the non-application provision in respect of section 21(3) of the Civil Law and Criminal Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020, which relates to the statements of truth.
Taken together, the effect of these two amendments would be to delete the application element from section 1 of the Bill and move it into a new and separate section 2. There will be no change to the wording. While I understand that Deputy Naughten may prefer a structure where this application provision, which, of course, has substantive effect, is not in section 1 but in a separate stand-alone section, I did not believe that such a change is necessary.
Having consulted the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, I am satisfied that this provision is appropriately situated in section 1(2) of the Bill, that is, in its own standalone section. The heading of section 1 was amended by way of a clerk's amendment on Committee Stage and now reads "Definitions and Application", which allows for this provision's inclusion as a subsection of section 1. Although there would be nothing wrong with having the application section as a standalone section, if the Bill had been drafted that way, there is equally no reason that the proposed change would be required. There are multiple examples in the Statute Book where the definitions and application sections are together, as they are in this Bill. As the amendments are unnecessary and confer no benefit in terms of the functioning of the Bill, I am, unfortunately, not in a position to support them.