Friday, 1 July 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
Ms McManus: I appreciate my amendment was ruled out of order but I have a right to comment. I tabled the amendment in a great hurry and in circumstances which are now shown to have been unnecessary. The Minister of State said that the legal advice came in February or March. It is now the beginning of July and we only received the Bill yesterday. That shows the disregard and contempt this Government has for the working of the House. There was no reason the Bill could not have been circulated within a recognised period of ten working days, which is the established principle. I raised issues with regard to guardianship to which the Minister of State did not refer. I would have liked to come back with some sort of an amendment on that, but it was completely unrealistic to do so.
I want to put down a marker to the effect that this sort of practice shows contempt towards the House. Legal advice was received in February or March. Delays were caused by the Minister of State’s inability to get his act together, publish the Bill and bring it to the House. It is a short technical Bill but we have not given due regard to the issue.
The spirit of my amendment was to speed up matters somewhat. I have spoken at length about the re-registration of children. Getting married is a life event and, for most people, a moment of great optimism. It should be a day of good memories. However, it is hard to imagine a place less suited to being a marriage venue than a health board office. There is no less inspired, more unromantic and less genial a place for the celebration of marriage, for which people plan and by which they set such store. Everything possible should be done to ensure that the facility provided for in the original 2003 Bill can be offered to those who want to avail of it.
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