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

7:05 pm

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

I move amendment No. 22:

In page 35, subsection (1)(a), to delete line 10, and substitute the following:"31.—(1) The committee shall, at any time before it gives the final report to the House, give the House three monthly interim reports in writing in accordance with rules and standing orders.
(2) (a) Subject to subsection (3), the House may, at any time".
The legislation, as drafted, provides for interim reports. In the event of the House being dissolved at the end, or close to the end, of its normal term, or suddenly if the Government of the day lost its majority or some of those in government were not to remain in government, the work of a committee, which could have spent considerable time, energy and resources conducting an inquiry during the term of that Government would be lost and such work could not be reactivated by an incoming Government in terms of the resumption of that work. Only the work that would have been included in an interim report would be protected for future reference. An incoming Government could rely on the work of a previous interim report, if one had been done, but the work conducted after the issuing of an interim report, having regard to all the time, energy and resources involved, up the time of the collapse of a Dáil would be lost. In this amendment I seek to protect the taxpayer and the integrity of these committees and not to bring the process into public ridicule in that a committee could have spent 12 months inquiring into a matter and all that work would be down the drain, even though many people may have made a great deal of money from it. I propose the insertion of this provision to protect the work of a committee by requiring it to complete three monthly interim reports. They need not be fact-finding rather they could be progress reports. Such a measure would protect the work done every three months to ensure that it would not be lost in the event of the sudden dissolution of a Dáil. It would protect the taxpayers' interests and the integrity of the committee process.


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