Taylor, Mervyn

Tuesday, 11 March 1997

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 476 No. 2

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Priority Questions. - Occupiers' Liability Act.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to review the operation of the Occupiers' Liability Act.More Button

The Occupiers' Liability Act to which the Deputy refers came into operation on 17 July 1995. It contained specific provisions which were intended to facilitate the use of land for recreational activi...More Button

Tourism is an important industry and everything possible should be done to facilitate it. I am not aware and cannot accept that the operation of the Occupiers' Liability Act causes any problem in tha...More Button

If the property referred to by the Deputy is public property to which the public has right of access, then no person has any right to block it off. As far as private property is concerned, if there i...More Button

Far be it from me to suggest that anybody should bring a test case. The type of cases which could arise under the terms of this Act could be wide and varied. The primary thrust of this legislation ...More Button

Priority Questions. - Travelling Community Report.

Was asked: if he intends to implement as a matter of urgency recommendation CR.10.1 of the report of the Task Force on the Travelling Community which recommends that each Government Department, semi-State body, ...More Button

It is for each of the bodies, both public and private sector, referred to in recommendation CR.10.1 to take the recommendation on board in its area of activity. The Equal Status Bill, 1997, will, whe...More Button

I agree that it is a most important issue but surely Deputy Flood must agree it would not be possible for the entire responsibility to rest with the Department of Equality and Law Reform when one take...More Button

Yes. The group is chaired by my Department. I do not have information here about its meetings but I will make inquiries about it.More Button

Priority Questions. - Reporting of Family Law Cases.

Was asked: his views on the position of the Law Reform Commission that the rules in relation to the reporting of family law cases are too stringent; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The law on reporting of family law cases is contained in various family law statues, including those dealing with divorce, separation, maintenance and domestic violence, which, in general, provide tha...More Button

Yes. I agree that, if all other things were equal, it would be desirable that the family law courts, like all other courts, would be open and the cases reported. Without question it would be helpfu...More Button

Deputy Keogh enunciated the reasons it is desirable that there should be some relaxation of the in camera rule. Those were the arguments in favour of it. They are valid and I agree with them. Howev...More Button

Other Questions. - Free Legal Aid Scheme.

Was asked: the impact, if any, the opening of law centres in Tullamore, County Offaly, and Newbridge, County Kildare, has made in relation to waiting lists for free legal aid; and if he will make a statement on ...More Button

Was asked: the number of people who have registered with the Legal Aid Board seeking a divorce; the percentage of those seeking free legal aid; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he intends to extend the free legal aid scheme to those people taking action on the grounds of discrimination in both employment and non-employment areas, including travellers; and if he will make ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 16, 17 and 99 together. I am happy to be in a position to inform the House that completion of the final phase of the development plan for the Legal Aid Board, the open...More Button

The addition of 1,062 cases will involve a substantial increase in the workload of the law centres, depending on where they are. I cannot give any prognostication as to how that will work out over ti...More Button

That is a separate question.More Button

I understand the Legal Aid Board is having ongoing consultations in a number of quarters to ascertain the possibilities to extend the private practitioners scheme. If Deputy Keogh wishes to table a q...More Button

Is the Deputy asking if there is an appeals procedure for a person who applies to the board for legal aid and does not get it?More Button

I will answer that in a moment. If a person applies for legal aid and his or her initial application is turned down or granted on circumstances which are unacceptable to the applicant, he or she can ...More Button

The Legal Aid Board will provide whatever level of representation it considers appropriate and necessary.More Button

It does not necessarily follow that senior counsel has any particular magic in these situations. The level of representation that is appropriate and necessary is provided. Whether or not a person re...More Button

I do not have any responsibility for the staff of the courts. That matter falls within the ambit of the Minister for Justice and the Deputy should consider tabling a question to her Department in tha...More Button

Other Questions. - Defamation Laws.

Was asked: his views on the contents of the Law Reform Commission report on defamation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his views regarding reform of the defamation laws; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: whether he will bring forward legislation which will provide that deceased persons can be libelled; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 18, 19 and 26 together. In the past I indicated that the law of defamation raises complex legal and constitutional issues. It is beyond question that there are compe...More Button

Yes, the current laws limit the freedom of the press. They provide that a person may not be defamed and is entitled to a good name. Those laws evolved over a lengthy period and result from an amalgam...More Button

I am not aware whether the report of the Law Reform Commission referred specifically to defamation through the medium of the Internet; it probably did not but I cannot be certain of that. The general...More Button

While the Internet may represent a new form of dissemination of potentially defamatory matter, I would envisage that the broad legal principles applicable would be no different from those applicable t...More Button

Other Questions. - Child Counselling Services.

Was asked: if he has requested that specific counselling services be developed for children whose parents have separated; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Following my appointment as Minister for Equality and Law Reform I instituted a scheme of grants to voluntary organisations providing marriage counselling services. Grants were first paid under this s...More Button

While fully supporting Deputy Keogh's intent I should point out that we have been doing so. Whenever I have had meetings with representatives of counselling organisations I have raised with them the ...More Button

Budgeting is done on a year on year basis and has to be done in that way. If I had any means at my disposal to guarantee even the current level, not to mention the increased levels of funding, to the...More Button

——for such social activities as counselling and mediation in general to enable cutbacks to be made in the social area. I would be happy to do that but unfortunately budgeting is done on a year on bas...More Button

Deputy Keogh can be assured that any moneys spent by any Minister in the Government is well spent for a worthwhile object, as is this funding and expenditure by the Minister for Education. These paym...More Button

The Deputy should look at the counselling service and legal aid service being provided and the extensions in mediation services. I have not seen a commitment from the Progressive Democrats Party that ...More Button

The consequences of that would be disastrous and people ought to know that.More Button

Other Questions. - Employment Equality Bill.

Was asked: the response, if any, he has made to the criticisms of the provisions of the Employment Equality Bill by the Employment Equality Agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Employment Equality Agency has a function under section 35 of the Employment Equality Act, 1977, to make proposals to me whenever it thinks necessary for amending either the Anti-Discrimination (P...More Button

All aspects of the Bill are kept under review. One has to bear in mind that important as the representations from the Employment Equality Agency are, responsibility for legislation rests not with the...More Button

Written Answers. - Employment of People with Disabilities.

Was asked: the number of disabled people employed in the public service; if he has satisfied himself with the level of recruitment of disabled people by the public service; and if he will make a statement on the...More Button

Was asked: the funding which will be made available to the Council for the Status of People with Disabilities; the staffing arrangements, if any, which have been agreed; and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 22 and 30 together. The monitoring committee on the employment of people with disabilities, which operated on foot of the provisions of the Programme for Competitivene...More Button

Written Answers. - Separation Agreements.

Was asked: the reason it is necessary to reopen deeds of separation where couples have agreed their circumstances and have no need to do so; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I assume the Deputy is referring to separation agreements that may be in question in the context of divorce proceedings instituted under the Family Law (Divorce) Act, 1996. The Deputy will appreciate ...More Button

Written Answers. - Property Laws.

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to reform, modernise and modify the law of property in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Deputy will appreciate that the legislative priorities of my Department — the Employment Equality Bill, the Equal Status Bill, the Children Bill, and a Family Law Bill — are as announced by the Ch...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Submissions.

Was asked: the submissions, if any, he has made to the all-party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution; and, if so, if he will give details of these submissions.More Button

My Department has made no submissions to the all-party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution.More Button

Written Answers. - Rights of Access to Children.

Was asked: the response, if any, he has made to those fathers who have been denied access to their children after separation and grandparents who are not permitted to see their grandchildren; and if he will make...More Button

Any father who is in dispute about custody or access to his child may apply to the court under section 11 of the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964 for its direction on the matter. The Act provides th...More Button

Written Answers. - Travelling Community.

Was asked: if he will appoint a person within his Department to monitor progress on the implementation of the recommendations of the task force on the travelling community; and if he will make a statement on the...More Button

Was asked: the discussions, if any, he has had with the Department of Education on the recommendations of the task force on the travelling community; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to co-ordinate the provision of services to travellers within the various public sector institutions that provide services of an essential nature to the travelling commun...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 28, 29 and 98 together. As I have said in reply to previous Dáil Questions, most recently on 19 February, I continue to maintain an active interest in the process of i...More Button

Written Answers. - European Year Against Racism.

Was asked: the content of the Irish working programme for the European Year Against Racism; and whether the Government and the EU support proposals to organise a policy reflection conference involving non-Govern...More Button

I am sending the Deputy the Framework Programme for European Year Against Racism drawn up by the national co-ordinating committee together with a list of events planned at present by organisations par...More Button

Written Answers. - Family Mediation Service.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that people are on waiting lists for mediation services for up to nine months; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have taken steps to ensure that the staffing situation in the Family Mediation Servicie is put on a proper footing in order that the problems attaching to the long waiting times for appointments wit...More Button

Written Answers. - GTN Directory.

Was asked: whether his attention has been drawn to the availability throughout the Civil Service and to Members of the Oireachtas of the Government's Telecommunications Network Directory on computer within an on...More Button

My Department is connected to the Government Telecommunications Network Directory (GTN) facility. Personnel changes occurring within my Department are recorded on the database as they occur. The sec...More Button


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