Disappointment as Independent disarray stalls new Sexual Offences Bill

28 January 2016

It was disappointing to see that the Technical Group and Independents could not agree to work with all other parties in the Dail today to make sure that the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 is passed into law.

Deputy Catherine Murphy, speaking for the Technical Group today, admitted that she was strongly supportive of this important legislation. But due to disarray among the Independents she couldn’t agree to extend the Dail sitting today to make sure that the bill is passed.

It was very striking that other parties including Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein argued that the passage of this legislation today was highly desirable.

The Criminal Offences Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 has been extensively debated in at the Oireachtas Justice Committee and in the Seanad. It has also received the support of vital organisations including the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, Immigrant Council of Ireland, Ruhama, ICTU, and the INMO.

It offers very important new protections to address sexual exploitation, in particular of children and those engaged in prostitution.

Unfortunately, events in the Dail today confirms what we have been saying for a long time that the Independents, no matter how well intentioned, cannot act coherently on issues that matter and actually deliver for people.

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