With all the coverage of Government ins and outs at Minister of State level, it was easy to miss yesterday’s announcement by Government Chief Whip Pat Carey of the Legislative Programme for the coming parliamentary session (Irish Times report | Government press release). According to the Dáil Éireann Order Paper for 22 April 2009 (pdf), this continues to include the long-delayed Defamation Bill, 2006. The Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, has recently stated his hope that the Bill would become law by the Summer, so its continuing inclusion on the Order Paper is to be welcomed. It is currently becalmed in the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women’s Rights. That committee completed its work on the Tribunals of Inquiry Bill, 2005 at its last sitting earlier this month, and is scheduled (pdf; see also here) to take up the Arbitration Bill, 2008 today. To stand any chance of enactment either side of the Summer, the Defamation Bill will have to be taken next. As to that, we shall have to wait and see.