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Question

2. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to review legislation on spent convictions; and her further plans to introduce new legislation to expand the range of convictions that fall under the terms of the legislation. [7857/17]

Answer

Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: The spent convictions legislation is relatively recent as the Act dates to 2016. It provides for certain convictions to become spent once seven years has passed since the date of conviction. Under the provisions of the Act, the following convictions which are more than seven years old are now deemed spent, namely, all convictions in the District Court for motoring offences, with the proviso that spent convictions for dangerous driving are limited to a single conviction, and all convictions in the District Court for minor public order offences.
The purpose of the legislation is to provide that persons who have made a mistake by committing a minor offence in the past and paid the price, can move on with their lives after the appropriate time and that such persons will not be held back. The Act was commenced in full on 29 April 2016 and it would be sensible to review it after a reasonable period, as Deputies have approached me about other changes they would like to see. The Act will be liable for post-enactment scrutiny at the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality. That is something which can be done under the new Dáil procedures. I welcome such an approach. It is early days for the legislation but it is important for the committee to examine it when it is in a position to do so. I always take the recommendations from the committee very seriously and I am happy to look at it if it is on the programme of work.