I would, if the Chairman does not mind. I will be brief.
As members know, the Bill is very short. Its main purpose is to give members of An Garda Síochána access to the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court. When enacted, it will allow members of An Garda Síochána to avail of the broad suite of WRC services, including mediation, conciliation and adjudication, as well as those of the Labour Court in the event of an industrial relations dispute involving members of An Garda Síochána.
The Bill forms part of the ambitious four-year plan for implementation of the recommendations outlined in the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. Accordingly, it recognises the Garda Commissioner as the employer, instead of the Department of Justice and Equality. As such, for the purposes of the Bill, the Garda Commissioner will have lead responsibility in engaging in discussions on pay and conditions.
As I said, the Bill is very short. It contains just five sections and makes a small number of legislative amendments to the Industrial Relations Act 1990. The amendments primarily affect sections 3 and 23 of the Act which include certain definitions such as those of a member of An Garda Síochána, a worker and an employer. The Bill also extends the concept of what constitutes a contract of employment in the context of trade disputes involving members of An Garda Síochána.
A schedule to the Bill seeks to actively disapply certain provisions of industrial relations legislation, particularly as they apply to the ability of gardaí to take industrial action, engage in strike action, etc.
I thank the Chairman for allowing me to make some introductory remarks about the Bill. I welcome whatever contributions Members may have to make on the Bill.