For some time now, I have been labouring under the illusion that the Seanad is a chamber for legislation to be introduced and debated. However, when I looked at the Order Paper for the House this morning, I noticed not one item of legislation was to be discussed. It is not as if there are not items of legislation that could be discussed: There is a civil partnership Bill, a climate change Bill, and another Bill from Independents.
Worse still, the auctioneering Bill remains on hiatus. About five years ago Senator O’Toole and I raised that issue in the House and scored a considerable success in that the then Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, set up a commission to examine the malpractices of auctioneers. The result of that was the preparation of legislation which was due to come before the House in the last session but that did not happen. Here’s what I told the House:
This is an obvious case of abuse taking place in the real world which we could resolve by taking measures which we have promised to do. The cowboys in the auctioneering world are still having a field day. The House should note that the delay has not been explained, although the legislation was promised.
The House has no legislation to discuss. I gather the Bill has been drafted and is ready but there is, and there remains, a very strong auctioneering lobby group in this and the other House. I hope the delay is not related to the number of auctioneers in the Dáil and the Seanad. I would like a specific answer as to when this legislation will be introduced in order that we can discuss it. I also want an assurance that it will be a Seanad Bill.