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The Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality today Thursday, 17th July 2014 provided an update on its work programme. Following the formal launch of three reports last week, the Committee has now published 18 reports since it was established.

Committee Chairman David Stanton TD said: “Traditionally, the Justice, Defence and Equality Committee has been a forum for Oireachtas members to have a meaningful input into key legislation and policy areas which have real significance. It plays a major role in considering policy in the fields of justice, security, the rule of law, equality, defence and immigration to ensure that Irish society is safe, secure, just, open-minded and impartial.

“Since this Committee was established, it has played a major role in pre-legislative scrutiny of Heads of Bills, consideration of EU legislative proposals and committee stage consideration of bills. A number of reports produced by the Committee helped inform two important pieces of legislation – the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 and the Personal Insolvency Bill.

“The Committee has also carried out a broad range of work in areas that come under its remit, including community courts, a review on the legislation on prostitution, penal reform, missing persons and Traveller ethnicity. Only recently, this Committee has received an award from Metro Éireann, sponsors of Africa Day Awards programme in recognition of its contribution to discussions in relation to integration, combatting Racism and other issues which affect immigrants.

“Our Committee has an important oversight role on the Government’s interaction with the European Union on justice, defence and equality policy and routinely engages with the Minister in relation to her attendance at EU Council meetings. As part of its very busy work programme, the Joint Committee meet 91 times since its formation, while the select Committee has met 38 times.”

Key statistics for the Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality since it was formed in 2011:

(i) Meetings of the Joint Committee 2011- 2014 – 91

(ii) Meetings of the Select Committee – 38

(iii) Meetings of the sub-Committee on Penal Reform – 8

(iv) Informal Meetings -19

Total number of meetings – 156

(v) EU Motions considered between 2011 and today – 29

(vi) Number of reports – 18

(vii) Number of witnesses giving evidence to the Committee

2011 – 44 witnesses
2012 – 172 witnesses
2013 – 84 witnesses
2014 – 109 witnesses

Total – 409 witnesses

Reports published comprise:

First Report on Heads of National Vetting Bureau Bill
Final Report on Heads of National Vetting Bureau Bill

Report on the Heads of Withholding Information Bill
Report on Heads of the Personal Insolvency Bill
Report on Heads of the Mental Capacity Bill
Report on Missing Persons
Report on Heads of the Mediation Bill
Report on Heads of Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission Bill
Report on Review of Legislation on Prostitution

Also in 2012 – Response to Minister in relation to:
Heads of the Criminal Justice (Corruption) Bill
Possible Regulation of Cash for Gold sector

Report on Penal Reform
Report on Heads of Gambling Control Bill

Report on Community Courts
Report on Recognition of Traveller Ethnicity
Report on Heads of the Children & Family Relationship Bill
Report on Heads of Criminal Justice (Community Sanctions) Bill
Response on Heads of Criminal Procedure Bill
Interim Report on Review of Garda Síochána Act 2005

All Committee reports can be accessed here: