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Thursday, 2 July 2015
Order of Business
I thank the Leader for scheduling the resumed Committee Stage of the Employment Equality (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill for this afternoon. I advise colleagues that this Bill started life as a Private Members' Bill introduced by Senator Moran and myself on behalf of the Labour Party in March 2013. On Second Stage, 11 Members spoke and, as such, there is significant interest in the legislation, which is intended to amend section 37 of the Employment Equality Act to ensure that discrimination against teachers, in particular, on the basis of sexuality or family status will no longer be possible. It is a very important Bill and there is great interest in it from civil society, the unions and LGBT rights groups. It was delayed and we had Committee Stage over two dates in March 2014, at which time there was again a great deal of interest from colleagues. In light of that, we are scheduling the resumption of Committee Stage, which will hopefully conclude this evening, as the Government has now approved a set of amendments for Report Stage. We hope Report Stage will take place next week. Those Senators who tabled amendments on Committee Stage, Senators Zappone and Power, have been briefed by the Minister of State, Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, and a further briefing has been arranged for next Tuesday, 7 July, at 3 p.m. for all Senators with an interest in the Bill so that people can have a full briefing on what the Report Stage amendments will entail. The meeting will take place in meeting room C in LH 2000. I have circulated a notice on that at the request of the Minister of State. It is a very important Bill and it is a good day for the Seanad to see it progress as a Government Bill, having started life as a Private Members'