Legislation

Since being elected to the Seanad in 2016, Senator Alice-Mary Higgins, has sponsored 10 separate bills, and won over 50 amendments, make real change in policy and law.

She sponsored and co-sponsored the following bills:

Community Participation (Disability) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2019

Electoral (Civil Society Freedom) (Amendment) Bill 2019

Public Authorities and Utility Undertakings (Contract Preparation and Award Criteria) Bill 2019

Prohibition of Conversion Therapies Bill 2018

Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018

International Protection (Family Reunification) (Amendment) Bill 2017

Controlled Drugs and Harm Reduction Bill 2017

Adult Safeguarding Bill 2017

Derelict and Vacant Sites Bill 2017

Seanad Bill 2016

 

Amendments are won by vote, by agreement of the Seanad or where the point of the amendment is accepted by the Minister, who then introduces their own workding. 

 

Planning and Development (Housing) andResidential Tenancies Act 2016: 4 amendments including an amendment to ensure that fast-track planning permissions cannot be held in reserve for prolonged periods of time.

 

Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017 1 amendment to ensure that a review into open or semi-open adoption would take place within 10 months of the Act passing into law.

 

Data Protection Act 2018 4 amendments and further progress were won to ensure that fines would be imposed on public bodies for misuse of personal data.

 

Heritage Act 2018 1 amendment was made on the bill and through working with other parties across the Seanad, compromise was reached and progress was made in the course of the debate to limit the impact of hedge-cutting to only roadside hedges and to extend the opportunities for local authorities and members of the public to raise objections under the canals part of the legislation. The public and political pressure applied during the course of the Seanad debate continued to grow and in summer 2019, the Minister announced that hedge-cutting would not be allowed in August for that year.

 

Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018

1 amendment was won to the which gave a specific focus to where advertising and sponsorship by alcohol products may affect children.

 

Mediation Act 2017 1 amendment was won to ensure that anyone involved in a domestic dispute is made aware that mediation is a voluntary process. Mediation may not be an appropriate process for everyone, particularly where they feel there is a risk to their, or their family’s, safety, and it is important that no one should feel pressured to undergo it.

 

Social Welfare Act 2019 1 amendment was won to provide for a report and recommendations to be made by the Minister and the department regarding one parent families. The report will particularly examine the issue of income disregard for parents of children between the ages of fourteen and eighteen.

 

Greyhound Racing Act 2019 3 amendments were won to improve the protections given to the welfare of greyhounds by ensuring that there is at least one vet on the board of the relevant association and that plans are put in place for retiring greyhounds.

 

Data-Sharing andGovernance Act 2018 Approximately 24 amendments were won which ensured that special categories of personal data are excluded from the scope of the act except in very explicit circumstances and to strengthen the security of data-sharing between public bodies, in line with the Data Protection Act and GDPR and to strengthen the capacity of individuals and citizens to exercise their data protection rights.

 

Wildlife Bill 2016 9 amendments were won to maintain protections to peatlands as part of Ireland’s natural and cultural heritage, biodiversity and carbon sequestration sources. The amendments include a requirement that the Minister and department must report on the condition, restoration potential and re-wetting potential of any blanket bog before an order can be made for de-designation as a natural heritage area.

 

DomesticViolence Act 2018 Senator Higgins proposed an amendment to legislate for controlling and coercive behaviour as a criminal offence. After significant discussion and further stakeholder engagement a version of this amendment was introduced into the bill by the Minister.

Related Stories

Senator Alice-Mary Higgins wins two important amendments to the Wildlife Bill

After debating the Wildlife Bill for 12 hours in the Seanad, Senator Higgins was happy to report last-minute wins in two areas. Senator Higgins succeeded in persuading the Minister to accept her amendment which requires a report to be produced on the condition, restoration and rewetting potential of ALL blanket bog National Heritage Areas before any order to remove protection of these bogs can be made. Which means no golf course or other ill-conceived developments in these National Heritage Areas for the foreseeable future. The Minister also accepted Senator Higgins' amendment to require a report on how turbury (peat cutting) rights operate – to include recommendations on a definition of ‘household use’ – important not only in terms of climate action but also a just transition.

Senator Alice-Mary Higgins welcomes decision not to permit hedge-cutting in August and calls on Minister Madigan to review the Heritage Act and to protect biodiversity

The decision by the Minister not to extend hedge-cutting into August this year is an important recognition of the growing crisis in biodiversity in Ireland and worldwide.
Senator Higgins said in response to today’s announcement, “I am glad to see Minister Madigan has apparently given new consideration to the serious concerns expressed by myself and others during the extensive Seanad Debate in the Heritage Bill and has removed the threat of August cutting from the habitats which our insects, birds, bees rely on. The essential next step must be to review this flawed legislation and ensure that biodiversity is protected not just this year but every year.”

Senator Higgins’s “game changing” bill on public procurement passes second stage in Seanad.

Speaking on the 'Contract Preparation & Criteria Bill', which successfully passed sec-ond stage in the Seanad today with the government abstaining and all other parties supporting, Senator Higgins said, “Procurement is an issue which impacts everyone, from the most intimate areas of our lives to the largest infrastructure.  I believe this bill can be a game-changer for the cul-ture around how we deliver public procurement in Ireland”

The Civil Engagement Group introduce bill to ban trade with illegal settlements

On Tuesday January 30th, the Civil Engagement Group brought the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill to the Seanad which sought to ban trade in goods and services from illegal settlements in occupied territories. While Minister Coveney expressed his commitment to the aims of the bill but he was unwilling to support it at this time. As a result, we agreed to adjourn the debate until July when we will push for a  vote.