Dáil debates

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

12:00 pm

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Minister of State and Government Chief Whip, Department of An Taoiseach; Wexford, Fine Gael)
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I move:

That, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, the following amendments be made to the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business until further notice in the 31st Dáil:

1. Standing Order 79 is hereby amended by the insertion of the following paragraph after paragraph (2):

'(2A) The rules as to procedure in Select Committees shall apply, as appropriate, to procedure in sub-Committees of such Committees.'.

2. Standing Order 82 is hereby amended by the insertion of the following subparagraphs after paragraph (2)(b):

'(c) it shall not consider any matter which is being considered, or of which notice has been given of a proposal to consider, by the Committee of Public Accounts pursuant to Standing Order 163 and/or the Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Act 1993; and

(d) it shall refrain from inquiring into in public session or publishing confidential information regarding any matter if so requested, for stated reasons given in writing, by—

(i) a member of the Government or a Minister of State, or

(ii) the principal office-holder of a body under the aegis of a Department or which is partly or wholly funded by the State or established or appointed by a member of the Government or by the Oireachtas:

Provided that the Chairman may appeal any such request made to the Ceann Comhairle, whose decision shall be final.'.

3. The following additional Standing Order is hereby adopted:

'82A. (1) The Dáil may appoint a Select Committee to consider and report to the Dáil on—

(a) such aspects of the expenditure, administration and policy of a Government Department or Departments and associated public bodies as the Committee may select, and

(b) European Union matters within the remit of the relevant Department or Departments.

(2) A Select Committee appointed pursuant to this Standing Order may be joined with a Select Committee appointed by Seanad Éireann for the purposes of the functions set out in this Standing Order, other than at paragraph (3), and to report thereon to both Houses of the Oireachtas.

(3) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (1), a Select Committee appointed pursuant to this Standing Order shall consider, in respect of the relevant Department or Departments, such—

(a) Bills,

(b) proposals contained in any motion, including any motion within the meaning of Standing Order 164,

(c) Estimates for Public Services, and

(d) other matters

as shall be referred to the Select Committee by the Dáil, and

(e) Annual Output Statements, and

(f) such Value for Money and Policy Reviews as the Select Committee may select.

(4) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (1), a Select Committee appointed pursuant to this Standing Order may consider the following matters in respect of the relevant Department or Departments and associated public bodies:

(a) matters of policy for which the Minister is officially responsible,

(b) public affairs administered by the Department,

(c) policy issues arising from Value for Money and Policy Reviews conducted or commissioned by the Department,

(d) Government policy in respect of bodies under the aegis of the Department,

(e) policy issues concerning bodies which are partly or wholly funded by the State or which are established or appointed by a member of the Government or the Oireachtas,

(f) the general scheme or draft heads of any Bill published by the Minister,

(g) statutory instruments, including those laid or laid in draft before either House or both Houses and those made under the European Communities Acts 1972 to 2009,

(h) strategy statements laid before either or both Houses of the Oireachtas pursuant to the Public Service Management Act 1997,

(i) annual reports or annual reports and accounts, required by law, and laid before either or both Houses of the Oireachtas, of the Department or bodies referred to in paragraph (4)(d) and (e) and the overall operational results, statements of strategy and corporate plans of such bodies, and

(j) such other matters as may be referred to it by the Dáil from time to time.

(5) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (1), a Select Committee appointed pursuant to this Standing Order shall consider, in respect of the relevant Department or Departments—

(a) EU draft legislative acts standing referred to the Select Committee under Standing Order 105, including the compliance of such acts with the principle of subsidiarity,

(b) other proposals for EU legislation and related policy issues, including programmes and guidelines prepared by the European Commission as a basis of possible legislative action,

(c) non-legislative documents published by any EU institution in relation to EU policy matters, and

(d) matters listed for consideration on the agenda for meetings of the relevant EU Council of Ministers and the outcome of such meetings.

(6) Where a Select Committee appointed pursuant to this Standing Order has more than one Government Department within its remit, a sub-Committee shall stand established in respect of each such Department to consider the matters outlined in paragraph (3), and the following arrangements shall apply to such sub-Committees:

(a) the matters outlined in paragraph (3) which require referral to the Select Committee by the Dáil may be referred directly to such sub-Committees, and

(b) each such sub-Committee shall have the powers defined in Standing Order 83(1) and (2) and may report directly to the Dáil, including by way of Message under Standing Order 87.

(7) The Chairman of a Joint Committee appointed pursuant to this Standing Order, who shall be a member of Dáil Éireann, shall also be the Chairman of the Select Committee and of any sub-Committee or Committees standing established in respect of the Select Committee.

(8) The following may attend meetings of a Select or Joint Committee appointed pursuant to this Standing Order, for the purposes of the functions set out in paragraph (5) and may take part in proceedings without having a right to vote or to move motions and amendments:

(a) Members of the European Parliament elected from constituencies in Ireland, including Northern Ireland,

(b) Members of the Irish delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and

(c) at the invitation of the Committee, other Members of the European Parliament.'.

4. Standing Order 83 is hereby amended by—

(a) the insertion of 'oral presentations and' before 'written submissions' in paragraph (2);

(b) the insertion of the following paragraph after paragraph (2):

'(2A) power to send for persons, papers and records;'

(c) the deletion of all words after 'new legislation;' in paragraph (4);

(d) the insertion of the following paragraphs after paragraph (4):

'(4A) power to examine any statutory instrument, including those laid or laid in draft before either House or both Houses and those made under the European Communities Acts 1972 to 2009, and to recommend, where it considers that such action is warranted, whether the instrument should be annulled or amended;

(4B) for the purposes of paragraph (4A), power to require any Government Department or instrument-making authority concerned to submit a Memorandum to the Select Committee explaining any statutory instrument under consideration or to attend a meeting of the Select Committee for the purpose of explaining any such statutory instrument: Provided that such Department or authority may decline to attend for stated reasons given in writing to the Select Committee, which may report thereon to the Dáil;' and

(e) the insertion of the following paragraph after paragraph (6):

'(6A) power to require that a member of the Government or Minister of State shall attend before the Select Committee and provide, in private session if so requested by the member of the Government or Minister of State, oral briefings in advance of meetings of the relevant EU Council of Ministers to enable the Select Committee to make known its views: Provided that the Committee may also require such attendance following such meetings;'.

5. Standing Order 92 is hereby amended by the substitution of the following paragraph for paragraph (1):

'(1) The member of the Government in charge of the relevant Department shall be an ex officio member of a Select Committee appointed pursuant to Standing Order 82A (or sub-Committee as appropriate) for the purpose of consideration of the matters referred to in paragraph (3)(a), (b) and (c) of that Standing Order, and shall be entitled to vote in Select Committee proceedings: Provided that such member of the Government may nominate another member of the Government or a Minister of State to act in his or her stead for that purpose.'.

6. The following additional Standing Order is hereby adopted:

'94A. (1) Unless otherwise provided by these Standing Orders or by Order of the Dáil, the quorum of a Select Committee or of a sub-Committee thereof, shall be either—

(a) three, or

(b) one quarter of the total number of members required to be appointed to the Committee, or sub-Committee as the case may be,

whichever is the greater, and in calculating the quorum, fractions shall be counted as one.

(2) A member of Dáil Éireann attending pursuant to Standing Order 92(3) shall not be counted for the purposes of determining a quorum.

(3) A member of the Government or Minister of State attending pursuant to Standing Order 92(1) shall be counted for the purposes of determining a quorum.

(4) The quorum of a Joint Committee shall be the combined quorum of the two Select Committees of which it is comprised, minus one: Provided that for the purposes of determining a quorum, at least one of the members present shall be a member of Dáil Éireann and one a member of Seanad Éireann.'.

7. Standing Order 99 is hereby amended in paragraph (5) by—

(a) the deletion of 'seventeen' and the substitution therefor of 'nine'; and

(b) the deletion of 'eight' and the substitution therefor of 'four'.

8. Standing Order 102 is hereby amended in paragraph (6) by the deletion of 'fifteen' and the substitution therefor of 'sixteen'.

9. Standing Order 105 is hereby amended by—

(a) the insertion of the following proviso to paragraph (3)(c):

'Provided that the Dáil may substitute, add to or otherwise vary, the reasoned opinion set out in the Committee's report by way of amendment to the motion tabled by the Chairman under this paragraph;' and

(b) the substitution of the following for paragraph (3)(d):

(4) Where the Dáil agrees a motion tabled pursuant to paragraph (3)(c) of this Standing Order, either with or without amendment, the Ceann Comhairle shall cause a copy of—

(a) the Resolution agreed by the Dáil,

(b) the reasoned opinion agreed by the Dáil, and

(c) the report of the Committee referred to in paragraph (3)(c),

to be sent to the Presidents of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission.

10. Standing Order 163 is hereby amended by—

(a) the insertion of 'Standing Order 83(2A) and' before 'Standing Order 85' in paragraph (4)(a), and

(b) the deletion of 'twelve' and the substitution therefor of 'thirteen' in paragraph (9).

Question put and agreed to.