Immigration Residence and Protection Bill – to fall yet again?
Due to the shortage of time and the backlog of proposed legislation it is likely the controversial, may not  be enacted before the general election which is likely to take place in March 2011.  If this happens it will be the third time that the Bill has fallen, once due to the sheer number of proposed amendments and now for the second time due to a General Election.

The Immigration Residence and Protection Bill has taken up more time in the Oireachtas than almost any other Bill in recent years. The Bill, if enacted would deal with a wide range of issues relating to immigration, asylum and the rights of foreign nationals to reside in Ireland. The changes brought by the new legislation would, in effect, introduce a new system to replace Ireland’s much criticised asylum process.  While the draft bill aims at a welcome shorter process many NGO’s and human rights groups have expressed doubts and scepticism regarding the fairness and transparency of the system that would follow the enactment of the legislation.

At present the draft Bill is at committee stage and is set for review by the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Women’s Rights before being voted on in the Dail. The Minister’s spokesman said Mr Ahern intended to have it completed before an election takes place, and would seek the co-operation of the Opposition in this. He said little remained to be discussed and when the committee stage was completed, the report stage would not take much time and it should be possible to have it completed. However, he also acknowledged that the Dáil would also have to deal with the Finance Bill and the Climate Change Bill, so it was possible the Immigration Bill would fall.