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

It is. When we previously discussed the section I said we would be a bit like a jury in the event of a member standing down, whereby a reserve juror who is familiar with the evidence would be available. A person who has had no involvement cannot step in to an inquiry that has been in place for 18 months. The Bill deals with a member's having to step down for whatever reason, and the fact that that would not invalidate the inquiry. How many members could stand down before the work of the committee would be invalidated? If an inquiry took place during a Dáil term, one could easily find two members are promoted to Minister of State roles. There could be a bereavement or Opposition roles could change.

A committee could start with ten people and by year three, five of them might be gone for a variety of reasons. Some form of a quorum should be required from among the original members of the committee to ensure they are in place at the conclusion of the hearings and for the issuing of a report. In theory, this provision could allow for a complete change in the committee membership before the hearings have concluded with the result that people who have not sat through any of the evidence would issue the final report. I do not see anything in the legislation to guard against this possibility.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.