Dáil Éireann - Volume 531 - 01 March, 2001

Written Answers. - Proposed Legislation.

39. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when it is expected the promised immigration and residence Bill will be published; if he will consider discussing the heads of the Bill with the Oireachtas committee on justice in view of the importance of the matters likely to be dealt with in this Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6131/01]

99. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when it is expected that the promised immigration and residence Bill will be published; if he will consider discussing the heads of the Bill with the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights in view of the importance of the matters likely to be dealt with in this Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6159/01]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): I propose to take Questions Nos. 39 and 99 together.

As indicated in the Government legislation programme as announced by the Chief Whip on 25 January 2001, the heads of proposals for the Immigration and Residence Bill are in the course of preparation in my Department, and publication is expected in late 2001. As I indicated in reply to Parliamentary Question No. 156 on 22 February last, to assist in the preparation of this legislation and in the development of immigration policy generally, I am working on a framework which will include wide consultation within the public service, with the social partners and with the public generally. This will allow the views of all those interested in this area of policy to have an input into the process of policy development. I expect to publish in the near future an outline paper as a basis for this public consultation. I fully appreciate that the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights may wish to engage in this consultation process. I would welcome any views the committee may have to offer in the context of the paper. These can be taken into account in the context of the preparation of my legislative proposals. I would welcome also any exchange of views the committee may seek in due course.