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

7:35 pm

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Independent) | Oireachtas source

My amendments deal with the same issue. It might be useful, particularly for matters such as the banking inquiry, to be able to access Cabinet materials. I suppose the Attorney General would have an opinion on this, but we are certainly coming close to the constitutional article on this issue. Article 28.4.3° states:

The confidentiality of discussions at meetings of the Government shall be respected in all circumstances save only where the High Court determines that disclosure should be made in respect of a particular matter - iin the interests of the administration of justice by a Court, or
ii by virtue of an overriding public interest, pursuant to an application in that behalf by a tribunal appointed by the Government or a Minister of the Government on the authority of the Houses of the Oireachtas to inquire into a matter stated by them to be of public importance.
The latter provision is the relevant one here. There is an issue where the High Court may need to determine it, but my reading of this Article as a lay person is that where the Houses of the Oireachtas have deemed an inquiry is in the public interest - which, hopefully, any of these committees would be - Cabinet or Government confidentiality would be waived.


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