Opposition hits out at 'do nothing' Government

The Government has only published one piece of scheduled legislation since January despite promising 18, it was claimed today.

As TDs rose for their 12-day Easter break, Government ministers were accused by the Opposition of not doing any work.

Labour TD Emmet Stagg said: “The Government promised to publish 18 Bills in this session but it has published only one on that list.”

Kildare South TD Bernard Durkan added: “It is sitting idly by. It is a disgrace.”

The Labour Party said a total of seven Bills were promised by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform but only one was published.

“The other Government departments have done nothing during this session,” Mr Stagg added.

“They seem to be moribund because there is no legislative activity.

“This is supposed to be a legislative assembly but of 18 Bills promised only one has been published.”

Fine Gael TD Charles Flanagan said “None of the ministers is working.”

Tánaiste Mary Coughlan, who was representing the Taoiseach in the Dáil, said several emergency Bills, including one dealing with the public service pension levy, took up considerable time.

She added: “We had the publication of the Anglo Irish Corporation Act, the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill and the Residential Tenancies Bill.

“Those were emergency pieces of legislation which were facilitated in this House.

“There were also several debates on hugely important issues.”

Ms Coughlan also said that the emergency Budget would mean a second Finance Bill would also have to be debated.

The Covert Surveillance Bill, which will allow gardaí to gather evidence by placing taps in the cars and homes of criminals, was recently approved by the Cabinet and is expected to come before the Dáil soon.

Ms Coughlan said further legislation will be published when the Dáil returns on April 22.

But Mr Stagg said: “We will have a rush of legislation before the summer recess and it will be guillotined without debate. It is a disgrace.”

Labour TD Joanna Tuffy claimed the number of bills passed in 2007 was the lowest since 1922.

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