Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Ceisteanna (399)

John Bruton

Ceist:

529 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will undertake a study of all orders made by her that could now be considered to be potentially in breach of Article 25 of the Constitution in view of the judgment of the High Court that the Aliens Order was unconstitutional due to the fact that it constituted an attempt to determine by secondary legislation a matter that ought to have been determined by the Oireachtas itself; if she intends to undertake the introduction of any legislation to remove the constitutional infirmity of any existing orders in view of this judgment; and if not, the reason therefor. [2742/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Family)

The Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 1993, as amended, provides the primary legislative basis for the social welfare code. This primary legislation is supplemented by statutory instruments which are made under powers conferred by the Act.

In preparing preliminary drafts of all legislation within its remit, my Department, in line with the advice of the Attorney General, has always been conscious of the need to have matters of policy and principle dealt with in primary legislation.

All statutory instruments are laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas — a period of 21 sitting days is provided during which the instrument may be considered by the Members — and annulled if deemed not to be in keeping with the policy and principles contained in the governing primary legislation.

Given my Department's long-standing approach, the supervision of the Office of the Attorney General and the role of the Members of both Houses to scrutinise delegated legislation such as statutory instruments, I am satisfied that there is no systematic deficiency in this regard. However, my Department will continue to exercise care in the matter and will take full account of this issue in its ongoing review and consolidation of social welfare legislation.