Seanad rises for summer break after passing Court of Appeal Bill

Wednesday 24 July 2013 23.22
The Seanad will return on 18 September
The Seanad will return on 18 September

The Seanad has adjourned until 18 September, after this afternoon passing the Court of Appeal Bill, which the public will vote on in a referendum on 4 October.

If the 33rd amendment is passed, a new court of appeal will be established to reduce the workload of the Supreme Court.

Currently the average delay there for new non-priority appeal cases is around four years.

Earlier this year, Chief Justice Susan Denham said she not able to accept any new priority cases, given that there was already a backlog of 70.

The electorate will vote on the proposed amendment on the same day as the referendum to either abolish or retain the Seanad.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said it is crucial that people vote Yes, because it would allow for a better legal system that could deliver justice quickly.

Justice delayed is justice denied, the minister said.

He added that the new court can sit full time if necessary and it will ensure people's rights are protected.

The Bill was not opposed by any Senators and several paid tribute to the minister for his "reforming zeal".

Mr Shatter responded by saying he was "overwhelmed with all the love" and advised Senators to take a good break to recharge their batteries.

Daly seeks early return for Seanad

However, Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly earlier said that he is seeking to have the Seanad recalled in August to discuss legislation on organ donation.

A similar attempt last year by the same senator failed, and his move was branded a publicity stunt by Seanad Leader Maurice Cummins.

Senator Daly said he wants Minister for Health James Reilly to appear before the Upper House to debate Ireland's implementation of an EU directive on organ donation.

He said he wants the "flawed" piece of legislation changed after it was described by the Irish Kidney Association as "only doing the bare minimum required".

The association has called for a dedicated organ donation authority.

It claims changes by the Department of Health could increase donations by 50%, if UK figures were mirrored in Ireland.

Senator Daly needs the backing of 20 senators to recall the house. He currently has 14 signatures.

He has warned that he will go to the High Court if his call is rejected.

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