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

8:25 pm

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour) | Oireachtas source

I move amendment No. 40:

In page 81, subsection (2), lines 39 and 40, to delete all words from and including "or" in line 39 down to and including "both" in line 40 and substitute the following:"(and irrespective of whether the definition of "private paper" provided for in such rules and standing orders overlaps, whether in whole or in part, with the definition of "private paper" in this Part)".
Section 101 deals with qualified privilege in respect of the private papers of Members and confidential communications with Members. Section 109 deals with qualified privilege in respect of official documents of the Houses. Sections 101(2) and 109(2) clarify that nothing in Part 10 or 11 of the Bill shall be construed to prejudice the power of each House to make rules and Standing Orders pursuant to Article 15.10 of the Constitution to create a protection for private papers referred to in that article.

The purpose of the proposed amendments is to clarify further the power of each House to make such rules and Standing Orders irrespective of whether the definitions provided for in rules and Standing Orders overlap with the definitions in this Bill.

I felt strongly about this matter. Members may be aware that I journeyed my way through the Morris tribunal to the High and Supreme Courts. I was anxious to protect the private papers of Members, which are protected under the Constitution. We are restating that protection in this Bill. For the avoidance of doubt, that restatement in these sections is without prejudice to the constitutional right of the Houses to create whatever privileges they are entitled to under Article 15.10.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.