The Dáil has passed the Paternity Leave and Benefit Bill, clearing the way for paid parental leave from 1 September next.

Cabinet earlier agreed to amend the bill so that the parents of babies born on or after that date can benefit.

The scheme provides for paid parental leave and for paid paternity leave on top of existing maternity benefit.

The Cabinet had also approved a tightening up of the rules governing "write-offs" to tackle the problem of cars involved in serious crashes being traded.

Current arrangements involving the insurance companies are voluntary and the amendment will put the regime on a statutory footing.

There are to be amendments to the Road Traffic Act to allow those in receipt of summonses after ignoring a fixed payment notice another chance to avoid court.

As things stand, once the summons is issued there is no alternative to a court appearance, but the change will allow another chance to offenders to pay a fine.

The Cabinet also heard details of amendments to the bill establishing the Cregan inquiry, which will examine loans written down by IBRC, some of which relate to businessman Denis O'Brien.

The Taoiseach will brief members of the Opposition on the narrowing down of the terms of reference of the inquiry tomorrow.

Judge Brian Cregan, who will chair the commission, had raised some fundamental doubts over whether the original terms were workable and officials have been trying to refine them for some time now.

Meanwhile, Don Thornhill is to be the chair of the new Legal Services Regulation Authority.

Dr Thornhill is the nominee of the Higher Education Authority where he was previously executive chair.

The authority will regulate the legal profession and will legally commence on 1 October.