Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 9 October 2013
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions
Public Petitions Received: Discussion
I will refer to a number of petitions on which we have had a chance to deliberate and all of which have been deemed inadmissible. They are: Petition No. 1/13 from Mr. Guy Le Jeune seeking the introduction of legislation to criminalise non-delivery of commitments made during election and referendum campaigns; petition No. 13/13 from Mr. Anthony McMahon regarding an alleged miscarriage of justice - the petitioner was asking the committee to re-examine a High Court ruling; petition No. 20/13 from Mr. Eamonn O'Connor regarding a driving licence issue with Dublin County Council; petition No. 66/12 from Mr. Desmond Lafferty regarding an anomaly in jurisprudence; petition No. 68/12 from Mr. Maurice Goodman regarding the return of probity, proper adjudication practices and hence accountability. The five petitioners will be issued with correspondence from the committee outlining why we deemed them to be inadmissible.
The other petitions for consideration today are Nos. 50/12, 70/12 and 71/12, all relating to the height and overhanging of trees and hedges in gardens. petition No. 50/12 is from Mr. Michael Byrne, petition No. 70/12 is from Mr. Denis Moran and petition No. 71/12 is from Dr. Jean Clark. We have had a chance to deliberate on these petitions, so it is open to members to make their recommendation.
Having considered these petitions, I believe we should make a recommendation to the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government with responsibility for housing that legislation be enacted to deal with this issue and, further, that consideration be given to the model that is already in place under the noise pollution legislation. We should ask the Minister to respond in a positive way at the earliest opportunity.
If possible, could we examine whether there is legislation in place for county councils regarding the height of hedgerows? It is not the same as trees but if there is no legislation in place, could this become part of the legislation we are seeking from the Minister of State, Deputy Jan O'Sullivan?
Is that agreed by the committee? Agreed. That is the recommendation.
The next petition for consideration is No. 54/12 from Mr. Tom Kelly regarding the introduction of the 0.6% pension levy.
I thank the secretariat for the work it has done on this. We have looked through this petition in detail. The recommendation is that the committee forward the Department's response to the petitioner for information and to refer the petition to the Revenue Commissioners to ask if they are in a position to confirm that the deductions currently being imposed by the trustees of the Tara Mines pension plan are in keeping with the requirements of the levy legislation. The Revenue Commissioners will also be asked whether they would consider reviewing the basis for the adjustment currently being made to ensure that the legislation is being complied with.
Is that agreed? Agreed. That recommendation will be acted upon.
The next petition for consideration is No. 57/12 from Mr. Jason O'Sullivan seeking to have the pharmaceutical product Roaccutane taken off the market. We have had a lengthy engagement with this petition and we deliberated on it further today.
I propose that we be updated by the Irish Medicines Board on the Roaccutane product, and also that the European Medicines Agency be contacted. I am sure the European Medicines Agency will update us as well on its oversight.
I understand the committee has recommended that we will forward the latest correspondence we have received to the petitioner. We propose to close the petition because we feel we, as a committee, cannot do more with it at this point. As Deputy Kitt advised, even though we have closed the petition, we will also seek an update from the relevant agencies as we move forward. Although at this point we feel that we cannot do anymore, we want to keep an ongoing interest in the matter. Is that agreed? Agreed.