Posted by Jane Suiter
I’ve just seen this press release from earlier today. It fits with a previous post but I thought as this may be the first time a Minister has put legislation to a committee before the floor of the House it merited its own thread. This looks to me to be a significant step and I hope the committee makes the most if it and hears a wide range of evidence.
I have simply cut and paste the release below:
Committee debates draft laws for alcohol testing at lower levels, ‘Restricted’ drivers, & higher penalty points for learners
Plans for wide-ranging road safety laws were published today (Tuesday) by the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar including mandatory breath testing at lower alcohol levels, higher penalty points for novice drivers and a new class of Restricted driver.
The Minister is using the publication of the Road Traffic No.2 Bill today to initiate an entirely new approach to the legislative process. The proposals will be presented today to Members of the Oireachtas Committee on the Environment, Transport, Culture and Gaeltacht. They will be asked to submit their views on the plans to the Minister within a month, before the Department starts work on formally drafting the new laws.
Minister Varadkar said: ‘This is the second piece of road traffic legislation that I have initiated this year, reflecting my intention to build on the momentum of recent years. We need to make travelling safer and we must not lose focus’.
“This draft Bill also represents an important step in improving parliamentary democracy. We are breaking new ground with this more consultative approach to developing legislation. I hope this marks the beginning of a positive and constructive relationship with the Oireachtas Committee.”
Key proposals in the draft Bill include:
Mandatory breath testing at new, lower alcohol limits;
· A new class of novice or Restricted driving licence which will apply for two years after qualifying;
· Higher penalty points for these ‘R’ plate drivers for certain offences;
· New plastic card driving licences to comply with EU requirements;
· Putting the RSA in charge of the driving licence system, and for testing commercial vehicles for roadworthiness;
· Allowing non-roadworthy vehicles to be detained or destroyed;
· Allowing local authorities to provide parking and charging bays for electric vehicles.
Minister Varadkar will ask Committee members to submit their views within a month, before the legislation is formally drafted. It will then be discussed in detail by the Dáil and the Seanad.
Edit. I have also just seen that it looks as if we may be getting a little movement on quangos too: In anotehr press release it looks as if Bruton is to axe the board of the National Consumer Agency. See here for press release
Are Fine Gael perhaps beginning to implement some of their political reform proposals?