Thursday, 23 June 2005
Michael McDowell (Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
It all depends on what one means by the term "statutory". A purely voluntary body would be wholly ineffectual because its judgments, decisions and so on would be subject to being sued. In other words, it would not have any teeth. By the same token, a statutory press council of the other kind, in which the State, through the Government, decided what a press council would be and who would serve on it, is also unattractive. There is a middle way, namely, recognition of an independent voluntary body which comes up to certain criteria of independence and effectiveness, and the creation of statutory consequences for such a body once its comes into existence. That is the model on which I have been working and which will be in the proposals to be published by Government.
With regard to privacy, rather than see it as a major split between the Government parties or between me and members of the Government, it is more constructive to see this as one on which——