Irish Penal Reform Trust

Passage of the Criminal Justice (Rehabilitative Periods) Bill 2018 through the Seanad

28th June 2021

On Monday 28th June 2021, the Criminal Justice (Rehabilitative Periods) Bill 2018 passed through the Seanad. The next step is for the Bill to be considered, examined, and debated in the Dáil.

The cross-party support for the Bill both at this stage, and during previous stages in the Seanad, is incredibly welcome. As pointed out by Senator Lynn Ruane during the final stage debate, since the Bill passed through Committee Stage, we have had elections, a new Government, and a different Oireachtas. It is to be commended that the Bill has reached this point despite those changes.

During the debate, Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton stated "in principle, the Government and the Minister are very supportive of the Bill and I note that this support is shared by all sides in this House". 

The passage of the Bill through the Seanad is an incredible achievement for Senator Ruane, who has worked tirelessly on the issue. It is also a significant step for the Government on the road to fulfilling its Programme for Government commitment to broaden the range of convictions eligible to become spent. We, alongside Senator Ruane, urge the Government to consider the impact of any future amendments which would limit its current provision and narrow the scope and ambition of the Bill. IPRT will continue to present evidence to counteract any potentially regressive amendments.

If the Bill is passed through the Dáil in its current form, not only will thousands of people who have been impacted from minor old convictions benefit, but society will benefit from people who have previously been excluded from not only the workforce, but from active participation in society across many fronts.

The transcript of the Report and Final Stage debate is available on the Houses of the Oireachtas website here.

For more information on the Bill, as it currently stands, see here.

Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.



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