Belfast Telegraph

New wave of legislation announced

Moves towards free GP care and stricter rules for sunbeds will be among a new wave of legislation to be published before the end of the year.

As the Dail resumed after its two-month summer break, the Government announced it is to publish 30 pieces of legislation over the next three months.

A Pyrite Levy Bill will be introduced to shore up money from the quarrying and insurance sectors to fund the long-awaited remediation scheme for homes with pyrite damage.

And the Government will also publish legislation to provide for water metering, which will give new powers to Irish Water to help the roll-out of water charges from January.

Chief whip Paul Kehoe, who unveiled the legislative programme for the Dail's autumn session, said the moves will see the coalition deliver more commitments from its Programme for Government.

He said there would be particular focus on job creation between now and the end of the year.

"From the day this Government took office the issue of job creation has been at the very heart of our economic recovery agenda," Mr Kehoe said.

He said that the Government has published 139 bills since it took office in March 2011. The Oireachtas has enacted 124 of those in that time.

New health legislation will include the publication of a Public Health (Sunbeds) Bill, aimed at introducing a number of measures to regulate the use of sunbeds and make it illegal for under-18s to use them.

A Health (General Practitioner Medical Service) Bill will provide for extending publicly-funded GP services without fees.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will make changes to the current party leaders' allowance regime by publishing an Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices) (Amendment) Bill.

The legislation will also put an end to severance payments to ministers.

The 30 new Bills will be published across 11 departments.

The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government will be responsible for the greatest number of Bills, publishing a total of six between now and the Christmas holidays.

"The Legislative Programme published today will see the Government continue to implement more and more of our Programme for Government commitments," Mr Kehoe added.

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