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Government agrees to Special Oireachtas Committee on international surrogacy

The Government has agreed to establish a Special Oireachtas Committee on international surrogacy as the Dáil resumed today.
It’s understood that a proposal to establish the Committee was brought to Cabinet this morning by Ministers whose Departments are affected by surrogacy arrangements in other jurisdictions.
The Cabinet met at Dublin Castle earlier to consider its spring legislative programme, which is expected to involve more than 40 bills, in advance of the return of the Dáil this afternoon.
It’s also understood that the Committee will report within three months of being established.
Assisted Human Reproduction legislation is currently being drafted by the Department of Health in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General.
The draft Bill does not contain provisions to regulate surrogacy arrangements undertaken in other jurisdictions.
Concerns were raised by Irish Families Through Surrogacy that the draft AHR bill would exclude international surrogacy and leave families and children without any legal protection.
A report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection Conor O’Mahoney also raised questions about parentage and the right to identity in donor-assisted human reproduction and surrogacy in this jurisdiction and abroad.
Recommendations of the committee will be considered by the Minister for Health as the AHR Bill progresses through the legislative process.
It is expected that necessary legislative provisions which arise out of the committee’s examination will be inserted into the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill at committee stage.
It is understood that 44 bills are contained in the spring legislative programme and the planned bills include the Mica remediation scheme; a subsidy of €100 towards electricity costs to all homes; introducing statutory sick leave; an electoral reform bill and a gambling reform bill.
The Chief Whip Jack Chambers brought the proposals to Cabinet today, including a work life balance bill and a remote working bill.
Minister for Education Norma Foley was also expected to bring a memo to Cabinet which seeks to update the 2013 Action Plan on bullying, and anti-bullying procedures, for both primary and post-primary schools.
Speaking on the way into the Cabinet meeting, Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said clarity and certainty should be brought to the status of the Leaving Cert exams “urgently”.
The minister said a meeting with the Minister for Education and education stakeholders is due to take place later this week.
Meanwhile, when the Dáil returns this afternoon, there will be statements on how to tackle violence against women – in the aftermath of the murder of primary school teacher, Ashling Murphy, who was buried yesterday.

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