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

5:35 pm

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

I move amendment No. 6:

In page 16, before section 6, but in Part 2, to insert the following new section:"6. --A committee conducting an inquiry established under this Act shall consist of fifty per cent of members of the current Government party and fifty per cent of members of the opposition.".
This straightforward amendment is clear in what it suggests. The current Government has an overwhelming majority. On this committee, the Opposition is outnumbered two to one. There is no basis for presuming that any committee of inquiry established under this legislation would not follow the same membership procedures as have been forced on the current Oireachtas by the Government. I accept that this committee's composition is a result of the Parliament's composition. It is possible that the referendum on the Seanad will be accepted, thereby removing a counterbalance. Often, there is a greater proportion of non-Government Members in the Seanad.

There should be equal numbers of Government and Opposition members on committees of inquiry. Memberships should not be weighted. By definition, the Government has a majority. It would be a poor start. Does the Minister understand the gist of what I am saying?


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