Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform: Select Sub-Committee on Public Expenditure and Reform

Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Bill 2013: Committee Stage

6:45 pm

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I have two small points. The first line of section 16 refers to the committee and there is a definition of "committee" in the section. Perhaps the Minister or somebody else can send a message to the parliamentary draughtspersons. There is a definition in the middle of page 27. Definitions should be at the beginning of the section. We should all be able to read and understand them. It might be standard practice for definitions to crop up at the end of sections, but if that is the case it is a bad practice.

The section states the House can draw up its procedures and guidelines in regard to any committee. Section 16(2)(b) states that guidelines drawn under the section may include guidelines relating to "any distinction that may be drawn between procedures applicable to all witnesses and those against whom allegations are made". I ask the Minister to explain that. An inquiry might be set up to investigate allegations in respect of an individual, but as it progresses it might move on to investigate persons who have questions to answer about a particular issue, whereas others simply provide evidence. Where is the distinction drawn between a witness and a person against whom an allegation is made? If that is to be done when guidelines are established, it sounds as if somebody has already made some preliminary assessment against a person before an inquiry commences.


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