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

8:10 pm

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

I move amendment No. 37:

In page 72, subsection (1)(b)(i), line 39, to delete “not”.
What I am trying to achieve with these amendments is to allow civil servants to express an opinion on policy. For the future, for committees such as those we are discussing, it is very important. I appreciate it is long-standing, and presumably legal, practice that State employees do not give opinions at committees on Government policy.

I see why this is the case but, specific to committees of inquiry, an interesting case can be made to waive this and allow them give opinion. I am sure it applies to many, but I have in mind in particular the banking inquiry. It would be very useful, in the public interest and in the interest of the Oireachtas, for us to be able to ask State employees for their opinion on the policy that was being pursued at the time.


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