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 Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Independent) | Oireachtas source

This is a sensible amendment in terms of what composition would give the public the most faith in these inquiries' being as independent as the Oireachtas can ever be. The Oireachtas is controlled by the Cabinet. At committee level, that control can be micro. For example, when the finance committee was sending an invitation to Professor Patrick Honohan, Deputy Mathews tried to get the wording of a sentence changed. The matter was forced to a vote and the Whip was applied.

Regardless of which Government is in power, this amendment will obtain for the next number of Dáileanna. A Government would concede something under this amendment as it would have more Members than the Opposition, yet a committee of inquiry's membership would be 50:50. The public would see that the committee could not be controlled by a Government. In matters such as this, one should not ask how the current Government would use a committee such as the ones in question, but how a mischievous Government would use it.

There is much merit in Deputy Fleming's suggestion and it would give comfort to the public that the process is as "unpoliticised" as one can get in the Oireachtas.


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