Thursday, 29 September 2011
Seanad Public Consultation Committee: Motion
That, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, the Orders of the Seanad of 19 July 2011 and 26 July 2011 concerning the Seanad Petitions Committee and the Seanad Public Consultation Committee be discharged and the following motion be substituted therefor:
'There shall stand established for the duration of the 24th Seanad a Select Committee which shall be called the Seanad Public Consultation Committee (SPCC), which shall consist of 11 members and the quorum of the Committee shall be five members.
The purpose of the SPCC is to provide for direct engagement and consultation between members of the public and the Seanad, through a process where Seanad Éireann through its SPCC invites submissions from members of the public on an issue of public interest (defined as a specific issue related to its legislative powers or an issue of public policy). The SPCC will consider the submissions made, may hold public hearings on the issues, and will issue a report with recommendations which will be debated in Seanad Éireann or referred to the relevant Joint Committee.
1. The SPCC shall specify and publicise a particular area related to the legislative powers of the Seanad or to an issue of public policy on which submissions from the public will be invited.
2. A deadline for the receipt of submissions by the SPCC shall also be specified and publicised.
3. The SPCC shall sit in private in the first instance to decide upon the particular area upon which it will invite submissions.
4. Once submissions have been received, the SPCC shall again sit in private to consider whether submissions are admissible and to consider further what action to take in relation to admissible submissions.
5. Private sittings of the SPCC may take place in one of the Committee Rooms.
6. Where the SPCC considers it appropriate to hear from a person or organisation in respect of an admissible submission made to it, it may arrange for the holding of a public or private session.
7. Any such public sessions, which one or more persons or organisations may be invited to address, and which members of the public may attend, may be held in the Seanad chamber outside of sitting times and may be televised.
Template for Admissibility of Submissions to Seanad Public Consultation Committee.
(1) Submissions may be made by email or post. Each submission shall clearly indicate:—
(a) the name of the person/company/organisation making the submission; and
(b) a postal and/or email address.
(2) A submission is admissible unless it:
(a) requests the Seanad to do anything other than the Seanad has power to do;
(b) does not comply with Standing Orders or is otherwise not in proper form;
(c) is sub-judice as defined in Standing Order 47;
(d) contains the name or names of individuals;
(e) contains language which is offensive or defamatory; and
(f) is the same as, or in substantially similar terms to, a submission made by or on behalf of the same person, company or organisation during the lifetime of the Committee.
(3) In respect of any admissible submissions on the particular issue on which submissions have been invited, the SPCC may:—
(a) invite any of the persons/company/organisations who have made admissible submissions to address it in public session;
(b) prepare a written report on the issue based upon consideration of the admissible submission or submissions made to it on that issue;
(c) refer the report and any recommendations therein to Seanad Éireann for debate;
(d) refer the report and any recommendations therein to the relevant Joint Committee for debate; and
(e) lay the report before Seanad Éireann.