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

7:55 pm

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

We are dealing with section 68. It concerns the points we have been talking about, namely, confidentiality and waiving legal advice. I have a difficulty with subsection (1)(d), which states that a person shall not attend if the evidence or document could, if given to the committee, reasonably be expected to adversely affect the security of the State to be prejudicial to the State in its relations with other states. The bank guarantee had major implications. When one is part of the eurozone, any decision one makes about banks in the eurozone has implications for our relations with other states. I believe this section is wrong because, by including that provision, it could close down an inquiry into anything concerning any bank, or it could close down any inquiry that has an impact on matters relating to other states. I am making my point quite clear.

Could the Minister explain his argument regarding subsection (1)(f), under which the committee cannot seek information for the purpose of accessing the liability of a person to pay tax, such as the property tax? If somebody owes money due to an outstanding accident and emergency bill, why can we not know about it? Why is that listed there?

I am against the provision on the basis that it is too broad-ranging, as anything could be said to affect our relations with some state. One could close down everything in the country under this subsection.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.