Civil Liability (Good Samaritans and Volunteers) Bill 2009: Second Stage (Resumed).

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 704 No. 1

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Question again proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”

Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  I thank Deputy Timmins for tabling the Bill. I am sure he has already stated that we are all suffering from a little déjà vu as this is the second time the Bill has been brought before the House. On the first occasion, the Minister who dealt with it was Michael McDowell who was treated with complete derision. I read the transcript of that debate [115]and the comments of the former Minister were typical of the man in so far as he dismissed with a degree of arrogance any notion that people engaged in providing assistance to those in distress would need any form of protection. At the time, we made a case, which I continue to make, for such protection with regard to volunteerism or stopping to assist someone in distress from a car accident, a heart attack or some such misadventure, which are what first comes to mind when one thinks about it, but it is not about such situations only.

Recently, an individual was stabbed to death after going to the assistance of his neighbours during a row. I am not certain whether this good Samaritan legislation would have been any help to the individual involved but this event was not as unique or as unusual as we may imagine. In Ireland, our first instinct is to assist someone in a time of need. That time of need may very well involve domestic violence, a parent being over-exuberant in chastising a child, a car crash, a heart attack or any such issue.

Now that the recession has hit so badly and people have far more time on their hands we will probably return to the type of community we had in the past. That was a very giving community which was only too willing to go to the assistance of people who found themselves in distress. However, people in our society have become extraordinarily well-versed in what are their rights and whether they have a right to sue in the event of someone not being careful enough in rendering assistance. We need to ensure those rendering assistance are protected from litigation when all they wished to do was give assistance to someone in his or her hour of need.

To contribute to the debate I did some research, and the natural situations that spring to mind involve someone who has had a heart attack or who has been involved in an accident. However, these are not the only situations involved. I came across information on a group of people who stood back while someone was being mugged and gave no assistance; they did not even telephone the Garda Síochána. This also comes under the legislation. We need to protect a person who intervenes in such a situation. We need the State to acknowledge that a person gave assistance in a good Samaritan fashion and that he or she is covered and cannot be sued because of it.

People get involved in areas they should not. In Italy, all a person is expected to do is to call an ambulance or the police; one is not expected to get involved no matter what the circumstances. That is not a bad policy. People jump in to give medical assistance and no doubt they feel they have the competence to assist people. I would not do so; I would not feel competent enough to do so. However, some people have the capacity to help people in the case of accident or serious illness, such as care workers, off-duty nurses or doctors. Assistance is provided regularly as fortunately in this county we intervene and come to people’s assistance. However, it is only a matter of time before a person decides he or she would have been better off if that person had not intervened and sues him or her. Word spreads very quickly and we need to protect people.

The former Taoiseach made a huge play of encouraging people to become volunteers. The entire country was going to volunteer for something or other under his plan. Yet there was no protection in place for those who volunteer. We all know of cases where people in a volunteer capacity in communities, be it through a meals on wheels service or other community association, have lost their position in the voluntary organisation and have been reprimanded for going beyond what was expected of them as a volunteer, albeit that no criteria have been set down as to what that is.

We might believe that a person would never get sued for trying to help someone, but we cannot say that because people have been sued in the most peculiar fashion. Once a person is sued, one can forget about anyone coming to a person’s assistance if anything should happen. [116] The legislation is good but it might need tweaking. Deputy Timmins is capable of amending the Bill. On the previous occasion we dealt with this legislation he was very open about it. As the legislation is not major that should be easy enough to do. However, we should put in place a mechanism to ensure that on the one hand people will not be afraid, for fear of being sued, to intervene where a person needs help, and on the other hand if we are to encourage people to give assistance we must ensure that protections are in place. It is not just about accidents and ill health, it is about child abuse, domestic violence and so on. We need to ensure people who intervene with the best of intentions are protected.

In commending Deputy Timmins on bringing forward his Bill again I am pleased the Minister now dealing with it is not as abrasive as the previous Minister who dealt with it. I hope the Government will do as promised and bring forward a Bill. When Deputy Rabbitte introduced the Whistleblowers Protection Bill a number of years ago it was accepted by the Government. Given what has transpired since, if we ever needed legislation it is that piece of legislation. Somehow, it got sucked in by the Government. It was referred to the select committee but it never was to see the light of day again. I hope that will not happen in this case. When the concept of the legislation is taken on board by the Government, I hope it will do something about it rather than it being a mechanism for stymieing a piece of legislation. That does not help the Opposition. Equally, those of us who have ideas about legislation are reluctant to bring them forward because if it is good enough the Government will not object to it but the Bill will then vanish. I hope that will not happen in this instance. We need to put protections in place on the basis that there are well-intentioned people who will come to people’s aid. We should encourage that type of action and not put up barriers to it. It is not rocket science. It would not cost a fortune but it would ensure the State would give a degree of protection to people who like to participate.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  I wish to share time with Deputies O’Connor, Cuffe, Blaney and Conlon.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is that agreed? Agreed.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  I welcome the opportunity to contribute to the debate on this Private Members’ Bill which, as other speakers have indicated, seeks to implement recommendations brought forward by the Law Reform Commission. The focus of the Bill is the civil liability of good samaritans and volunteers. I understand it arises out of concerns that Deputies opposite, in particular Deputy Timmins, raised on a previous occasion.

The necessity to put in place this type of legislation is widely recognised. The only difference between any of us tonight is the extent to which the necessary protections are put in place. While I would prefer the Bill to have been enacted much more quickly, it is important to ensure we get it right and that we do not leave gaps in the legislation that will add to or create a greater level of difficulty for those who might find themselves on the receiving end of a law suit.

It is sad that such legislation has to be enacted. Society has moved to a more litigious stage of development. We appear to be following the trend that was established in the United States of being overly litigious, what is often referred to as an ambulance-chasing culture. Some of that is driven by the legal fraternity and it is also driven by those who seek to gain financially from whatever situation at any opportunity. Such acts are deplorable but they happen and protection is required, especially for all of us whose natural instinct is to reach out to assist someone who has been involved in an accident or emergency. As Deputy Kathleen Lynch indicated, there are other instances in which people find themselves in a perilous state and in [117]need of assistance from others. It should be the case that people are free to give of their time, assistance and skills in such a way that they do not have to second-guess what might be the outcome for them from the point of view of having to face the courts.

It is also important that the legislation would be clear on the position of a professional such as a doctor or nurse who offers assistance while off-duty and that protection would be provided for them when their professional indemnity insurance would not come into play.

We must ensure protection is provided to voluntary groups such as the GAA and soccer clubs. We are all well aware of the tremendous efforts made by members of such community groups. In County Clare various groups such as GAA clubs, soccer clubs and scout groups assisted during the flooding crisis and the severe frost we had after Christmas. They operated mechanical equipment and assisted people who were in difficult circumstances. We need to ensure the legislation that is produced provides protection for them. It would be too much to expect that such groups would have to put in place insurance for those voluntary acts that fall outside their terms of reference or the codes to which they normally ascribe. Where a group of volunteers comes together to respond to a mini-disaster or crisis that includes members of the local GAA club or community group, the association of which they are a member should not incur liability for anything that might arise. We must clarify all these issues regarding the provision of services that are primarily for the assistance of others and, in so far as possible, remove the potential for liability attaching to the corporate bodies such as the Garda Síochána or other arms of the State. I hope these issues will be taken into account when the civil law (miscellaneous provisions) Bill is published in this session. It is important to have clarity in these matters.

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  I am pleased to be sandwiched between two such star speakers as Deputy Dooley and Deputy Cuffe.

Deputy Billy Timmins: Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Deputy O’Connor is star-struck.

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  I compliment Deputies Timmins and Charlie Flanagan on their work in bringing forward this Bill in Private Members’ time. Without meaning to be flippant, I hope there is no division at 8.30 p.m., not only because of the nature of the legislation but also because I could otherwise be at Tallaght Stadium cheering on the Ireland under 21 football team in the game against Armenia. However, we are dealing with an important issue and I am glad that, as far as the Government is concerned, it is a work in progress.

The Fine Gael Bill seeks to implement the recommendations of the report of the Law Reform Commission, published in 2009, on the civil liability of good samaritans and volunteers. The Attorney General’s request to the commission arose against the background of an earlier Private Members’ Bill, the Good Samaritan Bill 2005, which was defeated on the basis that there was a dearth of Irish law on good samaritans and that any proposal to legislate in this area would require careful consideration. We are all pleased that the Government’s legislative programme, published by the Chief Whip, Deputy Pat Carey in January, indicates that the civil law (miscellaneous provisions) Bill will be published in the current year. I understand drafting of the Bill is at an advanced stage and that it will include provision for the civil liability of good samaritans and volunteers through the implementation of the Law Reform Commission’s recommendations in its 2009 report. Therefore, while the principle of the Private Members’ Bill is accepted by the Government, as indicated by the Minister, Deputy Dermot Ahern, last night, substantial progress has been already made in the drafting of the Government Bill.

Various Members spoke about the importance of volunteerism. I was involved in an incident last year which I have thought about every day since it happened. On Monday night, 20 April [118]2009, as I left my office in Tallaght and walked towards my car, I became aware of a commotion close by. A young man named Gareth Farrell — I mention his name because I think about him every day — had just been involved in a motorcycle accident and by the time I reached him he was dead. I mention this incident because two people who were ahead of me on the path were already leaning down to kneel beside him. Without any fear or concern for the consequences, they sought to administer to and assist him in any way they could, but it soon became apparent that he was dead. I will never forget that experience and it has come to mind even more prominently in the context of this debate. If those people had paused to consider the possible consequences of any intervention, they might not have sought to assist the victim. It was to their credit that they were willing to offer their help without fear or hesitation. It is important that anybody in that type of situation should feel free to intervene.

Deputy Dooley referred to the importance of defibrillators. Members may be aware that I suffered a heart attack ten years ago. It happened at a Frances Black concert in the Civic Theatre in Tallaght. Several people came to my aid on that occasion when they could easily have decided to leave me be. Perhaps Deputy Timmins is thinking that a few people would not be at all upset if something terrible happened to Charlie O’Connor.

Deputy Margaret Conlon: Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  None of us would think that.

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  I am sure Deputy Conlon would not.

Deputy Billy Timmins: Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Deputy O’Connor is a bonus to all.

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  I try to bring my experiences to politics and the experiences I have related are certainly relevant to this discussion.

Deputies Kathleen Lynch and Dooley spoke eloquently about volunteerism, which is something that was very much a part of my background. One of the consequences of the Celtic tiger years was a decline in volunteerism not only because people were too busy but because of concern and fear arising from the talk of various court cases and so on. It is important that we promote volunteerism and ensure there is adequate protection for volunteers. I hope the Government Bill will take account of all that. I urge my Fine Gael colleagues to be patient. They have done a good job and I am sure the Minister will take on board their efforts in bringing forward the Government legislation. I look forward to supporting that legislation.

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  It is not often that there is broad agreement on all sides of the House regarding the merits of draft legislation. However, this is a good example of the generally impressive publications brought forward by the Law Reform Commission. I am pleased Fine Gael took the opportunity to replicate the draft Bill provided by the commission as an appendix to its report. I compliment Deputy Timmins on bringing forward the legislation because these types of reports tend to gather dust. Legislation in this area will allow people to breathe more easily, from members of football teams to volunteers in various organisations.

The Fine Gael proposal seeks to implement the recommendations in the Law Reform Commission’s report on the civil liability of good samaritans, which was published last year. The Bill purports to protect from liability those who go to the assistance of others who may be ill or injured as a result of an accident or other emergency. The intention is to ensure that those who intervene to give help to others and who offer this assistance in good faith cannot then be penalised or held liable as a result of their intervention provided they are not grossly negligent. The Bill also provides for the liability of voluntary organisations and undertakings for the ordinary negligence of their members. All of that is welcome.

[119]The report of the Law Reform Commission was undertaken in response to a request in January 2006 by the Attorney General to make such recommendations as the commission considered appropriate for reform of the law on civil liability in this area. The Attorney General’s request arose against the background of an earlier Private Members’ proposal, the Good Samaritan Bill 2005. That Bill was defeated on the basis that there was a dearth of Irish law on good samaritans and that any proposal to legislate in this area would require careful consideration. The lesson in all of this is that while the wheels of the law may move slowly, they have been speeded up in this case as evidenced by the commitment by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to bring forward the legislation as soon as possible.

The Chief Whip, Deputy Pat Carey, has indicated that the civil law (miscellaneous provisions) Bill, which will make provision for the civil liability of good samaritans and volunteers, will be published in the current session and enacted within a shorter than usual timeframe. I understand drafting is at an advanced stage. This Bill will implement the Law Reform Commission’s recommendations and provide more adequately for the civil liability of good samaritans and volunteers than what is envisaged in the Private Members’ Bill. That is one of the lessons of being in government. I recall from my five years in opposition that one might draft a Bill which made an abundance of sense. However, one is essentially producing only the heads of a Bill, without the nuts and bolts of the detail. On this side of the fence one realises the importance of getting the detail right and working closely with the Attorney General and with Departments to make sure every i is dotted and t crossed. That is often the reason legislation can take a long time to come on board.

The Government Bill will provide the requisite statutory framework and will ensure there is no general duty on any category of persons to attempt to rescue or assist an at risk or injured person. There will be a statutory definition of good samaritans and volunteers as those who act voluntarily and without expectation of payment or other reward in providing assistance, advice or care in emergency situations or for the benefit of the community. In a sense, this pertains to the antithesis to what Robert Putnam described as bowling alone. It is about the essence of community, about people helping one another and about meitheal. It is about something the Irish always have been good at but it will enshrine this in law. It is counter-intuitive to tell someone not to go near a person who is in difficulty but to hold back and wait for the gardaí or the ambulance to arrive. This goes against our very nature and against the grain of what being Irish is all about and this Bill will make it easier for us to go to the assistance of others.

Moreover, it will provide a standard of care for good samaritans and volunteers, which only imposes liabilities in circumstances of gross negligence, the test for which will be set out in the legislation. It will provide a standard of care for volunteer organisations or undertakings which impose liability in circumstances of ordinary negligence. In addition, it will ensure that account should be taken of the benefits which have accrued to society because of a voluntary organisation’s work when determining whether it is just and reasonable to impose liability. One hears much talk around this House on encouraging volunteerism and encouraging people to help others. The Bill proposed by Fine Gael and, more importantly, the Bill the Government is in the process of bringing forward, will address these issues adequately. It will constitute a good step forward for a common law society like Ireland and for the people. The law often has intervened and in a funny old way and this will move us towards the European model, in which one does reach out to others and in which there is an expectation that people can and should help out.

Deputy Niall Blaney: Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  I welcome the opportunity to speak on the Civil Liability (Good Samaritans and Volunteers) Bill. The initiative shown by the Opposition and by Deputy Timmins in [120]particular must be recognised. I also am aware that Deputy Carey has a great interest in this Bill and the initiative shown in this regard is appreciated. However, as indicated by the Minister, Deputy Dermot Ahern, the Government is in the final stages of preparing its own legislation, which I believe will address the matter a little more efficiently. It is vital that legislation on this matter be drafted cautiously, which is what the Government is in the process of doing at present. It is of paramount importance that an individual who goes to the aid of another who is hurt or experiencing an emergency and who does so with good intentions should not be concerned with the possibility of being sued as a result of his or her intervention. Members have recounted different stories and all are familiar with examples from their own experiences in which they personally have been involved. Many members of society go to the aid of individuals and while it probably is the last thing on their minds, Members should do everything they can to protect them. I am glad this initiative has been made and that the Minister is keen to move on with legislation.

Active citizenship must be promoted now more than ever, given the nation’s economic instability. Active citizenship was a given in Ireland in the past in communities in which everyone helped one another out, everyone knew one another and looked out for one another. Unfortunately however, we have grown to become much more independent as individuals and while this is a good thing to some degree, I believe it is time to revive the element of looking out for one another. I grew up in a rural constituency in County Donegal in which it certainly was the case that everyone in the local community knew everyone else. Moreover, times were very different and people were not in the same rush as today. Times have changed and people’s approach to one another consequently also has changed and this should be reconsidered. I believe the pace of life is too fast at present for the good of people’s health. While I certainly welcome all the technological advances and so on, human beings can only take so much and people appear to be running from pillar to post. Nearly everyone in society today has an extremely busy life, which certainly was not the case when I was growing up.

There is a very real threat to volunteerism due to civil liability uncertainty. There also is the added worry that insurance premiums may increase for volunteer groups. As public representatives, all Members are informed about the good work done by voluntary groups and about the damage that increased insurance costs would cause to them. It is evident that clarity in law in respect of civil liability is required and this issue was raised by Deputy Timmins as long ago as 2005. It was referred to the Law Reform Commission in 2006 due to various concerns about the original Bill. The Government has accepted the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission and will incorporate them into the proposed civil law (miscellaneous provisions) Bill, which is in the course of being drafted for publication during this Dáil session. I welcome this step and hope it meets the approval of Deputy Timmins.

Various issues have arisen that require further attention to ensure this matter is addressed appropriately, which is not the case in respect of this Private Members’ Bill. The Bill envisaged by the Government will contain additional safeguards in respect of civil liability to ensure anyone in need is not deprived of assistance due to fear of liability. It is intended that there will be no general duty on any category of persons to attempt to assist or support another person at risk or in need of aid. A statutory definition of volunteers also will be determined as those who act voluntarily and without expectation of payment or other reward in providing assistance in emergency situations or for the benefit of others. In order to encourage volunteerism and active citizenship, which I believe to be vital at present, the Government Bill will provide a statutory framework for the civil liability of good samaritans and volunteers to provide clarity and reassurance on the common law position. It also will provide a standard of care for good samaritans and volunteers, which only will impose liability in the case of gross [121]negligence, the test for which will be set out. Furthermore, it will provide a standard of care for voluntary organisations or undertakings, which will impose liability in circumstances of ordinary negligence. Perhaps most importantly, it will ensure that account should be taken of the benefits which have accrued to society because of a voluntary organisation’s work in determining whether it is just and reasonable to impose liability. I welcome the input of Opposition Members on this matter and look forward to issues in respect of volunteerism and civil liability being clarified and addressed appropriately through the Minister’s Bill.

Deputy Margaret Conlon: Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  I also welcome the opportunity to contribute. At the outset, I commend Deputies Timmins and Charles Flanagan on the work they have done and on their genuine intentions in bringing this Bill before the House. However, as the Minister, Deputy Dermot Ahern, set out last night, the Government is in the process of preparing legislation which will be brought to finality shortly. I agree with the Minister’s proposal to defer the Second Reading of the Bill for six months. As Deputy Blaney mentioned a few minutes ago, Members will remember growing up with the concept and practice of being a good neighbour, whereby a good samaritan was someone who helped out when one was in need or in a difficult position. However, with the advent of the Celtic tiger, this practice changed. In some respects, this may have been due to litigation or the fear of getting involved but it also was due to the fact that people were leading busy lives. Many people felt they had enough to do to mind their own business without minding or becoming involved in anyone else’s business. Members will be familiar with the nosy neighbour, that is, the person who cannot mind his or her own business or stay out of other people’s affairs. At a recent meeting of Castleblayney joint policing committee, I touched on this matter and recommended that people needed to revert to looking out for one another. I suggested that if something happened or if something suspicious was happening in an area, people had a duty to look out for another.

I welcome the Minister’s statement that those who act with good intentions and go to the assistance of someone who is injured, ill, experiencing an emergency or in danger need not fear the threat of being sued for doing a good deed. I also welcome his statement that this situation would be set out in the Government’s legislation.

Many Deputies this evening discussed volunteerism. It is important that we return to basics and that our young people begin to see and appreciate the value of and need for volunteerism. Thankfully, this country has a proud tradition in that regard. More than 500,000 people volunteer their services. They willingly give of their time and energy, make a considerable contribution to society and expect no monetary compensation in return. For them, the satisfaction comes from helping those who are less fortunate than themselves and community-based organisations in their areas. We all know of the dedicated people who train football teams, head youth groups and organise music or dancing lessons, community games, active retirement, meals on wheels, etc. The list is endless.

What happens if there is an incident and no qualified medical personnel are available? The person who is required to give assistance at the time must be protected. Our community is much richer thanks to such people and our children benefit from the experience, but a greater degree of legal certainty is necessary. The last thing anyone wants to do is discourage volunteerism or cause increases in the insurance premia of volunteer groups. The volunteer must be protected.

I welcome the Minister’s comments regarding damage to property. In many situations, such damage is or could be a natural consequence of assisting someone in need. For example, if a neighbour is worried about someone who has not appeared in the local community for a number of days, he or she might break into the person’s house to provide vital assistance before the emergency services arrive. If one encounters a car accident, one might need to damage the [122]car to free someone. We do not want people to become paranoid about what might occur if they go to someone’s assistance. Time might not always be available, so one would not be able to afford to delay.

I agree that the issue is complex and that every scenario must be examined and covered. In recent times, people have become litigious. This is unfortunate for society, in that the lure of the euro and however many zeros follow it in an insurance claim are uppermost in some people’s minds. In September, I visited a friend whose son had brought home from school a personal insurance claim proposal form that he was to fill in. He asked me how much he would get if he broke his arm. Even at an early age he was considering the money he might get from such an accident. It is a mindset that we need to change.

Legislation is required. I am of the opinion that rushed legislation is not always good legislation. It is important that it be done properly and that we take everything into consideration. I agree with the manner in which the Minister is proceeding, namely, taking on board the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission, LRC, and incorporating the principles of its draft Bill into another Bill.

I thank Deputies for their input and for giving us an opportunity to discuss this matter in the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The next slot has 35 minutes. It will be tight, as a number of Deputies are offering, including Deputies Joe Carey, Denis Naughten, Paul Connaughton, Dan Neville, Andrew Doyle, Michael D’Arcy and, to wind up the debate, Deputy Billy Timmins. We need six minutes at the end for Deputy Timmins.

Deputy Joe Carey: Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  I will share time with those Deputies. The need to introduce such a Bill as the one before us this evening dates back to 2003 when publicly available defibrillators first came on-stream. Following research and consultation, my colleague, Deputy Billy Timmins, introduced the first Good Samaritan Bill in 2005. Tonight, I commend him for continuing to raise this matter.

The new Bill in the names of Deputies Timmins and Charles Flanagan gives protections to the nationwide movement by people to take in charge their own ability to discharge help towards those who might have suffered cardiac arrest in their communities. This movement manifested itself in the many sporting organisations and community associations that purchased defibrillation equipment. In turn, this created networks of volunteers selflessly making themselves available if something occurs in their communities.

I applaud Deputy Timmins’s tenacity on this issue. I have no doubt that, until Fine Gael’s Private Members’ business was published last Friday, the Minister had little intention of proceeding with the LRC’s recommendations, which were consequential to Deputy Timmins’s work in 2005. Listening to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform stating yesterday that he was going to enact the legislation in conjunction with the granting of a liquor licence to the national conference centre was peculiar. If he really wanted to expedite the passage of this legislation, he could tack it onto the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009 or whatever else might be knocking around the Cabinet table in the next couple of weeks.

In the Gospel of St. Luke, Jesus tells the parable of the good Samaritan. In it, a Jewish traveller is beaten, robbed and left half dead on the roadside. First a priest and then a Levite come by, but both avoid the man. Finally, a Samaritan comes by and helps the man. Today, one could assign the roles of priest and Levite to the former and current Ministers, Michael [123]McDowell and Deputy Dermot Ahern, respectively. Both have chosen to pass by and ignore the concerns of those who act in good faith on behalf of their neighbours in times of need.

Deputy Paul Connaughton: Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  One could hardly call him a saint.

Deputy Joe Carey: Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  The nature of volunteerism has changed. The minute any organisation interacts with State agencies such as, for example, FÁS, Pobal or the HSE to provide employment through community employment schemes, provide child care through the national child care investment programme or develop infrastructure in its community, it is immediately entering a bureaucratic nightmare and the imposition of standards that the State itself does not always follow.

The recent bad weather saw the principles of volunteerism and the good samaritan in operation. Communities and individuals took care of their own. This was widespread in my county of Clare, where neighbours, sporting organisations and community groups worked hand in hand to help one another.

The LRC’s analysis of this issue was that it is unlikely that liability would arise in most situations. However, it qualified its conclusion to the effect that a residual risk of litigation could not be ruled out, particularly in the context of organised volunteering activity. It is critical that the Minister no longer puts this issue on the long finger. He has an opportunity tonight to do something positive on behalf of the many people who take up the slack when the State is either unwilling or unable to do so. I appeal to the Government to have a change of heart and support this progressive Bill.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  I welcome the opportunity to speak on this legislation. I compliment Deputy Timmins on his persistence in respect of this issue. He first tabled a Bill some five years ago and, with Deputy Charles Flanagan, he is sponsoring this legislation.

From some of the contributions, one would believe that the Bill had been plucked out of the sky. As we know, the LRC was asked by the Government to consider the issue. The LRC conducted a detailed analysis, made a preliminary report, sought submissions on it and arrived at a final document and draft legislation, which Deputy Timmins has sponsored on behalf of the Fine Gael Party. I was very disappointed by the response of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform last night. I believed he was big enough to accept the legislation proposed by the Opposition. Instead, he has decided to long-finger the detailed recommendations of the independent Law Reform Commission, which are based on a report which was requested by the Government.

  8 o’clock

I hope the political commentators who call for a government of national unity will note the way the Government has treated this legislation, which every citizen and Member of the Dáil supports and which has been proposed by an independent commission of eminent lawyers and judges. The Government has turned its back on those recommendations. How can we expect the Government to work constructively with the Opposition and take our views on board when such a politically partisan approach is taken to the report of the Law Reform Commission? It is clear that the Government is not prepared to listen to constructive suggestions or proposals put forward by the Opposition. How can we expect the Government to consider proposals from this side of the House on complex issues of economic recovery when something as straightforward as this legislation is sidelined, purely because it is proposed by the Opposition? The Government says it wants to see the colour of our money and hear how we would right the economy, purely in order to ridicule the Opposition.

[124]In the media, we see calls for electoral reform. One way to reform this House would be to give the Members a direct role in drafting and enacting legislation. We need political reform but, sadly, the Government is not big enough or open-minded enough to provide for it.

I compliment the Law Reform Commission on its detailed analysis and I thank it for keeping me up to date on the commission’s progress on this legislation. Last night, a constituent of mine, Ms Eunice Langley, was in the Gallery. Through the Defibrillator Access and Resuscitation Association, DARA, she has trained more than 2,500 people in the use of defibrillators. She left the House last night, disgusted at the Minister’s response to the Bill. Ms Langley cannot be here tonight because she is training another community in County Roscommon.

The purpose of this legislation is to protect those who come to the assistance of people who are involved in an accident or emergency. This is close to my own heart because a number of years ago, when my father was killed in a road traffic accident, the driver of his car would have died at the scene of the accident if a GP had not arrived and treated him at the location. The accident occurred only six miles from Portiuncula Hospital but he would not have survived the journey. He owed his life to that doctor. There are thousands of such individuals throughout the country who put their own lives at stake on a daily basis. They do not consider the issue of liability or insurance. The Government is turning its back on them by the decision to long-finger this legislation. Shame on it.

Deputy Paul Connaughton: Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Four or five years ago, when this proposal came before the House, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy Michael McDowell, poured scorn on the Bill, on the basis that it was not filtered, researched or this, that or the other. I congratulate Deputy Billy Timmins because without him the Bill would not have reached the floor of the House a second time.

This morning, during Leaders’ Questions, the Taoiseach castigated the Opposition for not being helpful. One could not say this Bill is as important as the NAMA legislation but it is a very important Bill. The Government is presented with an opportunity, cleared by the Law Reform Commission and by everyone I have come across throughout the country. Is it not unbelievable that the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform sees fit, even after all this filtering and research, to kick the Bill into touch for another six or 12 months? If he brings a Bill to the House after that time, it will contain the same measures and will have the same psychology behind it. Everyone in the country knows that the Civil Liability (Good Samaritans and Volunteers) Bill deals with what we all understand a good samaritan to be.

I cannot understand how small-minded the members of the Government are. Even after the filtering process of which I spoke, they cannot see fit to accept the Bill. I hope commentators will hear what is happening tonight. For purely political reasons — or what I would call bad blood, which is the opposite of being a good samaritan — they cannot see it in their hearts to accept something from the Opposition, even if it is outstandingly acceptable to everyone in the country. A great number of people will see through the Government charade of criticising the Opposition for not playing its part in getting the economy right. The Government may forget about Dáil reform. They do not have a clue about it. It means something different to Fianna Fáil than to anyone else.

I am a fair while in this House and I have seen great attitudinal changes. There is a certain element in Irish society who keep a stiff upper lip. They hear no evil and see no evil. These people have come to a stage in their lives where they have decided to mind their own business. I accept that many of us do not like to see anyone meddling in our business. I am talking about helping others for the greater good of families and individuals. Minding one’s own business has [125]gone too far. I grew up when the meitheal concept was common. If a neighbour was in trouble, everyone would deem it their duty to help in their hour of need. That is what the good samaritan Bill is about. No matter how one dresses it up, it is to allow us to come to the aid of someone who is in serious trouble without fear of having to walk the plank of legislation as a consequence.

I am afraid Deputy Timmins, despite the great trouble he has taken, will have to bring the Bill onto the floor of the House again because the Government will not accept it. As more people learn why the Bill was not accepted the Government will appear in a very poor light.

Deputy Dan Neville: Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  I am very disappointed the Government did not take on board the very worthy objective of this Bill and I congratulate Deputy Timmins on introducing it twice.

The two issues of volunteerism and litigation are brought together in the Bill. There is a fantastic history of volunteerism in this country. As a rural person, I remember Muintir na Tíre. When we did not have water in our houses Muintir na Tíre came together to put in a group rural water scheme. Volunteerism developed from that through sporting organisations, community councils and the various non-governmental organisations which involved themselves in necessary work, with no monetary reward but great psychological reward for what they do. That is one side of the issue.

The other side is the whole area of litigation. We have become a very litigious society and it is unfortunate that has happened. Since the onset of the recession, we are moving away from that and back towards volunteerism which should be encouraged.

Some years ago I was in Kerry when somebody dived into a swimming pool and hit their head at the bottom of the pool and was injured. There were nurses around but they did not help that person immediately. They waited for some time to see if the person was all right because they were afraid of what would happen if things went wrong for them. This Bill will change that.

We must encourage more volunteerism and protect those who volunteer to assist in their communities and assist people in difficulties such as in an accident, in an emergency or otherwise, whether on the sports field, on the roads or elsewhere. This Bill facilitates and encourages that and sends a message to the people that the Government and the Opposition encourage them to intervene to help people in crisis and that there will be no fallout. People believe there will be fallout because of our litigious society and the way this is treated in the media.

The issue of defibrillators is a perfect example where somebody takes the risk of intervening where a person is close to death. If the person dies, that intervention may be interpreted as contributing to the demise of that person. One can understand the reluctance of people to intervene. Deputy Timmins seeks to ensure that people in need of such assistance get the maximum opportunity to survive through the intervention of their fellow citizens.

It is very disappointing the Government is not in favour of the Bill, although it stated it is in favour of its objectives. The Law Reform Commission has said this is the way to go. Why is the Government not in favour of what its organisation, our organisation and the Law Reform Commission have said is the way forward?

The good samaritan issue is not one which people are widely discussing, because it is not tangible. However, there is a resistance to intervene to help people to survive, to reduce danger and to overcome difficulties being experienced, whether on a sports field, on the roads or elsewhere.

[126]I entreat the Minister and the Government to look seriously at what Deputy Timmins has proposed and to send a message to the people that volunteers will be protected from litigation and the unfortunate circumstances which people believe could arise.

Deputy Andrew Doyle: Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  I commend my colleague, Deputy Timmins, on bringing forward this Bill. Most speakers have outlined how cynical the public will become if Bills, which make perfect sense, are not adopted and if we do not get around to conducting our business in a more sensible manner without playing politics all the time. The Government amendment agrees with everything in the Bill. The Minister of State, Deputy John Curran, is a reasonable and progressive person who perhaps must agree with the party line on this. However, it makes no sense not to adopt this Bill.

Without volunteerism, nothing would happen. The value for money volunteers provide across a whole spectrum, whether the tidy towns, meals on wheels, cemetery committees etc., cannot be quantified. In most cases, people have public liability insurance and cover against any damage done to property etc.

This Bill specifically provides for those who go to the aid of people. Approximately seven years ago, Deputy Timmins and I were approached by a couple of people in County Wicklow who asked us to look into commencing a community first responders initiative. The then East Coast Area Health Board, which was responsible for the ambulance service, gave its time freely, sorted out all the issues around training and evaluation and trained the people. People whose cars were insured got clearance from their insurance companies if they had a full licence to go to a call out at any stage. It was not seen as doing something for hire, it did not change the status of the cover and there was no extra premium. People bought into the process.

Underlying that, there is a fear that somebody who goes in good faith to the aid of a person to offer medical assistance or to rescue him or her will be held liable if something goes wrong. The Bill is about absolving a person of that. Nobody goes through the evaluation system with the intention of going out to do somebody harm. This Bill gives people some reassurance that they will not be held liable and that litigation cannot be taken against them in a culture which has become litigious.

During the bad weather crisis, people were prohibited from helping others because of insurance and public liability issues. The Minister for Transport, Deputy Noel Dempsey, has indicated that he intends to change the law in regard to people clearing their footpaths, for instance, which is a progressive step.

I cannot understand why this Bill must be delayed until next September to be adopted. It smacks of the politicisation of a common sense issue. It makes no sense to the public, the Opposition and to most Members on the Government side.

Deputy Michael D’Arcy: Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  Good samaritan laws or Acts protect from liability those who choose to aid others who are injured or ill. They are intended to reduce bystanders’ hesitation to assist for fear of being sued or prosecuted for unintentional injury or wrongful death.

In Canada, a good samaritan doctrine is a legal principle that prevents a rescuer who has voluntarily helped a victim in distress from being successfully sued for wrongdoing. Its purpose is to keep people from being reluctant to help a stranger in need for fear of legal repercussions if they were to make some mistake in treatment.

Good samaritan laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, as will their interactions with various other legal principles, such as consent, parental rights and the right to refuse treatment. Such laws generally do not apply to medical professionals’ or career emergency responders’ on the job conduct but some extend protection to professional rescuers when they are acting in a [127]volunteer capacity. While US laws focus on shielding from liability those who choose to help in a situation they did not cause, European laws criminalise failure to help in such a situation. In Europe, people who do not help are convicted.

During the recent cold spell, I spoke to the director of transport in Wexford County Council. An offer to help grit the county roads was made by the farming community who had machinery capable of spreading the grit, more capable than that of the local authority. The director of transport was concerned, however, that for health and safety reasons he would have to leave the roads in a dangerous and unsafe condition. At some stage, someone will have to shout “Stop”. Farmers were informed that the local authority would provide grit and that they could act in the common good by gritting the roads but that they would be open to prosecution if something went wrong. The law, as it stands, does not provide legal protection should an accident occur in such circumstances. At the start of the second decade of the 21st century, it is madness that this is the case.

The Minister of State, Deputy Curran, worked into the Charities Bill positive amendments tabled by this side of the House and thereby improved the legislation. I am at a loss to understand the reason the Government has decided not to accept this Bill, as we do not want similar legislation to be introduced in six months or six years. In October 2007, when the Labour Party introduced the Civil Partnership Bill, the Government indicated it would produce its own Bill. It failed to do so for a further two and a half years.

As I stated, the Minister of State is a positive member of the Government. Perhaps he will be promoted in the coming weeks, in which case I will extend my best wishes to him. However, having observed the operation of the Oireachtas since my election in the summer of 2007, I do not believe the House is fit for purpose. Its mode of operation dates from an earlier era and is a legacy of the early years of independence. For the life of me, I cannot understand the reason only three Private Members’ Bills have been enacted in the past 30 years. While I accept that criticism can be levelled at the Fine Gael Party in government on that score, the Fianna Fáil Party has been in government for four out of every five years since independence. Since the establishment of the Dáil in 1919, approximately 30 Private Members’ Bills have been accepted. If we are to continue along these lines, any attempt to reform the House will be a waste of time. I speak in a positive vein but if individuals choose not to participate in the political system and do not try to change it, they allow it to take charge. The system is not working or fit for purpose. As the guardian of the House, the Chamber of the people, the Ceann Comhairle must know that its structures must be changed to make it fit for purpose.

Deputy Billy Timmins: Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  I do not have any interest in leaving this Bill on the Order Paper for a further six months. This matter could have been addressed tonight or almost five years ago. There is virtually no difference between the Bill recommended by the Law Reform Commission which served as the basis for this legislation and the original Bill presented by the Fine Gael Party four and a half years ago. The provisions in the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill the Government has promised to introduce before 2 September will not be any different either. I do not believe the Government will survive long enough to introduce the promised legislation. For this reason, it should be dealt with tonight.

I thank the Deputies who spoke on the Bill, Deputy Flanagan who tabled it with me, my constituency and party colleague, Deputy Doyle, and others. I also thank Deputies Kathleen Lynch and Costello who spoke on behalf of the Labour Party. Deputy Lynch also spoke on the previous Bill four and a half years ago. Nothing has been done in the meantime. At the time we attributed the failure to proceed with legislation on this issue to the arrogance of the then Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Michael McDowell. However, when one compares him with the individuals who hold Cabinet positions today, the former Minister becomes something of a Florence Nightingale figure. I am deeply surprised that pragmatic [128]individuals such as Deputy Healy-Rae and others continue to support this arrogant Government which is out of touch with society.

In commending the Law Reform Commission I note with surprise that, under the chairmanship of Ms Justice Catherine McGuinness, it has been subject to some implied criticism by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Last night the Minister asked the following question: “For example, should the advice, assistance or care given by a good samaritan or volunteer be restricted to the scene of an accident or should it include transportation to a hospital or other medical care facility?” The answer is spelled out in section 3(2) which refers to “or other circumstance of serious and imminent danger”.

The Minister also asked how far into the future protection from liability should stretch. I look forward to seeing how he proposes to address this spurious argument in his Bill. He has also asked who is a good samaritan and whether a person who injures someone and then assists the injured party can be described as a good samaritan. Section 3(3) clearly defines a good samaritan and does not leave room for ambiguity. If there was a difficulty with the Bill, it could have been addressed by amendment on Committee Stage. I do not believe any such difficulty arises. The Government’s approach is reflective of the arrogance that has prevailed among its members for some years.

The Law Reform Commission has produced two reports and has been examining the concept behind the Bill which originated on this side of the House for four and a half years. It produced a Bill, of which this legislation is a replica. The Fine Gael Party used the commission’s Bill in the belief the Government would not close the door on the commission. For self-centred reasons, however, it chose to do precisely that.

Deputy Flanagan outlined the heads of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill last night. While I do not know if we will be around in 30 years when the relevant Cabinet papers are released, I doubt if good samaritan legislation was discussed in the context of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill.

Deputy Joe Carey made a good point when he noted that the Minister could expedite the passage of the Bill by tacking it onto the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009. The Government could just as well have done so, given that it proposes to include it in the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, the heads of which do not even refer to a good samaritan.

My motivation for introducing the Bill was purely to assist volunteers. I have listened to mothers of children who died suddenly from cardiac arrest and representatives of voluntary groups. Deputy Doyle and I could have filled the Visitors Gallery with 500 volunteers from County Wicklow alone. I have in mind people such as Mr. John Fitzgerald who sits on the committee of the Wicklow community first responders, Mr. John O’Reilly, Ms Margaret Lynagh, Mr. Pat Dignam and Ms Susan Gorman.

When I left the House last night following the debate on the Bill, there were no microphones, flashing cameras or lights. I also note there is only one member of the media in the Press Gallery and the scant coverage given to the legislation. The Bill tells me more about the Government than anything else. I hope that when my party is sitting on the other side of the House in a few months from now, we will introduce this legislation. If my party colleagues and I are fortunate enough to be elected to the House at the next election, I hope we never indulge in the patronising waffle I have heard from the Government side. Rather than blaming Deputies O’Connor, Conlon and Dooley for this, I blame the Ministers for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and Health and Children, both of whom are aware of the importance of this issue.

I feel sorry for the officials present because I am sure that deep down they want to accept the legislation and know it would only do good at no cost. Large sections of the community [129]want the Bill to be enacted. We could have lobbied and generated opposition to the Government’s approach to it but instead chose to take a non-party political approach and remain silent until we discovered that the Government’s position was that it would not accept the Bill. It adopted this position because it is arrogant and out of touch.

When the Government was formed, we had a budget surplus and thousands of new jobs were being created every year. What do we have now? The national debt has trebled in five or six months and thousands are losing their jobs every month. In response to an Opposition proposal, we have encountered again the arrogance that is symptomatic of the Government. I do not think that 30 seconds would do justice to the anger and despair I feel at the Government’s approach. A reference as made to the Taoiseach seeking proposals from this side of the House, yet here is a proposal that, strangely enough, everyone spoke in favour of. In the wilds of south west Kerry, isolated people are dying from sudden cardiac arrest, but community organisations are afraid to get involved for fear of litigation. I cannot understand why Deputy Healy-Rae and his Independent colleagues will not support a Bill that would not cost one cent. It would have given a voice to the many reports on volunteerism and active citizenship.

Spare me all the waffle I have heard from the Government benches. I commend the Bill to the House.

Amendment put.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 72; Níl, 69.

Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot. Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael.
Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel. Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry.
Information on Chris Andrews  Zoom on Chris Andrews  Andrews, Chris. Information on Seán Ardagh  Zoom on Seán Ardagh  Ardagh, Seán.
Information on Bobby Aylward  Zoom on Bobby Aylward  Aylward, Bobby. Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Blaney, Niall.
Information on Aine Brady  Zoom on Aine Brady  Brady, Áine. Information on Cyprian Brady  Zoom on Cyprian Brady  Brady, Cyprian.
Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny. Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John.
Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas. Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara.
Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat. Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall.
Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  Conlon, Margaret. Information on Sean Connick  Zoom on Sean Connick  Connick, Seán.
Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary. Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John.
Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán. Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John.
Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy. Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy.
Information on Michael Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Michael Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Michael. Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán.
Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley. Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul.
Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John. Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel.
Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  Hanafin, Mary. Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Harney, Mary.
Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán. Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie.
Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire. Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter. Information on Brendan Kenneally  Zoom on Brendan Kenneally  Kenneally, Brendan.
Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael. Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony.
Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P. Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom.
Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian. Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor.
Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Lowry, Michael. Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas.
Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie. Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael.
Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John. Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael.
Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael. Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon.
Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán. Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  O’Brien, Darragh.
Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie. Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  O’Donoghue, John.
Information on Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel. Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  O’Hanlon, Rory.
Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt. Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Edward.
Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary. Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy.
Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter. Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick.
Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon. Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor.
Information on Eamon Scanlon  Zoom on Eamon Scanlon  Scanlon, Eamon. Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan.
Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel. Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary.
Information on Mary Alexandra White  Zoom on Mary Alexandra White  White, Mary Alexandra. Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.



[130]Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James.
Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Barrett, Seán. Information on Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe.
Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat. Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P.
Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard. Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Burke, Ulick.
Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan. Information on Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine.
Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe. Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  Clune, Deirdre.
Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul. Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel J.
Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  Creighton, Lucinda. Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  D’Arcy, Michael.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew.
Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien. Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn.
Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank. Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin.
Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles. Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence.
Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon. Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian.
Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom. Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Higgins, Michael D.
Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil. Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan.
Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul. Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda.
Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán. Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen.
Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, Pádraic. Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane.
Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  McGinley, Dinny. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe. Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz.
Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia. Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis.
Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan. Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael.
Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín. Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran. Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus.
Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  O’Shea, Brian. Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan.
Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Maureen. Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie.
Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Perry, John. Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Quinn, Ruairí.
Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat. Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James.
Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael. Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  Shatter, Alan.
Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Sheahan, Tom. Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  Sheehan, P.J.
Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Seán. Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín.
Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet. Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy.
Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna. Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary.
Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  Varadkar, Leo.  

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Pat Carey and John Cregan; Níl, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Emmet Stagg.

Amendment declared carried.

Question put: “That the motion, as amended, be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 72; Níl, 69.

Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot. Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael.
Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel. Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry.
Information on Chris Andrews  Zoom on Chris Andrews  Andrews, Chris. Information on Seán Ardagh  Zoom on Seán Ardagh  Ardagh, Seán.
Information on Bobby Aylward  Zoom on Bobby Aylward  Aylward, Bobby. Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Blaney, Niall.
Information on Aine Brady  Zoom on Aine Brady  Brady, Áine. Information on Cyprian Brady  Zoom on Cyprian Brady  Brady, Cyprian.
Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny. Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John.
Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas. Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara.
Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat. Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall.
Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  Conlon, Margaret. Information on Sean Connick  Zoom on Sean Connick  Connick, Seán.
Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary. Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John.
Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán. Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John.
Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy. Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy.
Information on Michael Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Michael Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Michael. Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán.
Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley. Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul.
Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John. Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel.
Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  Hanafin, Mary. Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Harney, Mary.
Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán. Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie.
Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire. Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter. Information on Brendan Kenneally  Zoom on Brendan Kenneally  Kenneally, Brendan.
Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael. Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony.
Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P. Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom.
Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian. Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor.
Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Lowry, Michael. Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas.
Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie. Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael.
Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John. Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael.
Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael. Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon.
Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán. Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  O’Brien, Darragh.
Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie. Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  O’Donoghue, John.
Information on Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel. Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  O’Hanlon, Rory.
Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt. Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Edward.
Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary. Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy.
Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter. Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick.
Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon. Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor.
Information on Eamon Scanlon  Zoom on Eamon Scanlon  Scanlon, Eamon. Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan.
Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel. Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary.
Information on Mary Alexandra White  Zoom on Mary Alexandra White  White, Mary Alexandra. Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.



Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James.
Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Barrett, Seán. Information on Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe.
Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat. Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P.
Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard. Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Burke, Ulick.
Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan. Information on Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine.
Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe. Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  Clune, Deirdre.
Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul. Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel J.
Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  Creighton, Lucinda. Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  D’Arcy, Michael.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew.
Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien. Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn.
Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank. Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin.
Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles. Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence.
Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon. Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian.
Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom. Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Higgins, Michael D.
Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil. Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan.
Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul. Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda.
Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán. Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen.
Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, Pádraic. Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane.
Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  McGinley, Dinny. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe. Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz.
Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia. Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis.
Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael. Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran.
Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus. Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  O’Shea, Brian.
Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan. Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Maureen.
Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie. Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Perry, John.
Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Quinn, Ruairí. Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat.
Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James. Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael.
Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  Shatter, Alan. Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Sheahan, Tom.
Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  Sheehan, P.J. Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Seán.
Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín. Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet.
Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David. Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy.
Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna. Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary.
Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  Varadkar, Leo.  

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Pat Carey and John Cregan; Níl, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Emmet Stagg.

Question declared carried.


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