The Seanad has approved legislation extending emergency Covid-19 powers until November.

The approval means the Bill will now go to President Michael D Higgins to be signed into law.

The Seanad also agreed a motion requesting an early signature of the bill, as the powers are due to lapse on 9 June.

Overall, 24 Senators voted in favour of the Health and Criminal Justice (Covid-19) (Amendment) Bill 2021, with 12 voting against.

During a debate in the Seanad this morning, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said it was "reckless" to vote against the Bill.

However, Senator Michael McDowell accused the Minister of introducing the Bill too late, which meant that members could not contribute to debates or vote on amendments.

He told Mr Donnelly that he would vote against the bill "in protest", knowing that it would pass anyway.

Senator McDowell said that politicians were "corralled into making a binary choice, do it my way or no way".

This view was echoed by Senator Mary Alice Higgins, who called on the Minister not to place politicians in a similar position in November.


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