What happens to bills which are before the Oireachtas when the Government is dissolved?

On the dissolution of the Dáil, there will be a number of bills in the process of enactment. These bills exist in a kind of legal limbo until the reassembly of the new Dáil.

When the newly elected Dáil convenes for the first time, it will decide whether to restore the outstanding bills to the Order Paper, at the particular stage they had reached prior to dissolution, or whether to allow them to lapse*. A returning Government will usually only continue with those bills enjoying cross-party support.

Bills capable of restoration include Private Member's bills (PMBs), but in general, these bills do not have a good history of success in legislative terms, with a majority of them failing to make it into Acts of the Oireachtas.

Which bills have been passed up to 1 February 2011?

Some of the final legislation which was enacted by the Dáil during January 2011 includes the Finance Act 2011 (this bill has been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas but has not yet been signed by the President to our knowledge), the Bretton Woods Agreements (Amendment) Act 2011, the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011 and the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011.

Which bills are before the Houses of the Oireachtas as of 1 February 2011?

Bills which are in the process of enactment and which will lapse today include:

  • Communications Regulation Postal Services Bill 2010 [Seanad] – 2nd STAGE DÁIL
  • Nurses and Midwives Bill 2010 - REPORT STAGE DÁIL
  • Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010 – 2nd STAGE DÁIL
  • Employment Law Compliance Bill 2008 - COMMITTEE STAGE DÁIL
  • Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2009 [Seanad] – COMMITTEE STAGE DÁIL
  • Employment Agency Regulation Bill 2009 – ORDER FOR REPORT DÁIL
  • Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011 – 1st STAGE DÁIL
  • NAMA (Amendment) Bill 2011 – 1st STAGE DÁIL
  • Residential Tenancies (Deposit Retention Schemes) Bill 2011 [PMB] - 1st STAGE DÁIL
  • Construction Contracts Bill 2010 [PMB] - COMMITTEE STAGE DÁIL
  • Ethics in Public Office (Amendment) Bill 2007 [Seanad] – 2nd STAGE DÁIL
  • Tribunal of Inquiry Bill 2005 – ORDER FOR REPORT DÁIL
  • Privacy Bill 2006 [Seanad] – ORDER FOR 2nd STAGE SEANAD

What about other legislation which the Government had included in its Legislative Work Programme?

The new Dáil will decide whether or not to pursue the other legislation outlined in the Government's Work Programme. This includes:

  • Electoral (Amendment) Bill (Corporate Donations) – To put in place policy measures to address the potential that exists for undue influence to arise, to the detriment of the wider good, from the corporate funding of politics.
  • Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme) Bill – To provide a new single pension scheme for new entrants to the public service and for related matters.
  • Betting (Amendment) Bill – To amend the Betting Act 1931 with the object of bringing remote betting (including betting exchanges) within the existing regulatory framework and to make some incidental amendments to bookmakers' licensing arrangements.
  • Criminal Justice Bill (White Collar Crime) – To amend the criminal law to improve certain procedural matters and strengthen Garda investigative powers in relation to white collar crime.
  • Patents (Amendment) Bill – To allow for ratification of the London Agreement on the Application of Article 65 of the European Patent Convention.


  • Bills going through the legislative process in the Oireachtas at the time of the dissolution of the Dáil prior to a General Election will lapse.
  • The new Dáil will decide which bills it intends to pursue.
  • These bills will continue at the particular stage they had reached prior to the dissolution of the Dáil.
  • We will update you on this and the new Government's legislative agenda in due course.

* As provided by Standing Order 137 of 2007.