Written answers

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Ethics in Public Office Legislation

Photo of Liam TwomeyLiam Twomey (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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370. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will move the resolutions to designate chairpersons of the Oireachtas committees as officeholders as set out in the Standards in Public Office Act 2001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41541/14]

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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Under the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995, a person who holds the office of chairman of a committee of either House, or the office of chairman of a joint committee of both Houses, can be expressly designated as an office holder by a resolution of the House or Houses, whether in the resolution(s) establishing that Committee or by separate resolutions. Since the 1995 Act came into force, chairpersons of such committees have not been designated as office holders.

My Department is currently finalising a review of the current legislative framework for ethics and, in that context, is completing a draft Scheme of a Bill designed to modernise, simplify and streamline the current arrangements in light of, in particular, the recommendations contained in the final report of the Mahon Tribunal and recommendations contained in the Annual Report of the Standards in Public Office Commission.

The ethics obligations of all public officials including chairpersons of Oireachtas committees are being considered in that context.  I expect to submit proposals to Government in the coming weeks and  following Government approval, I will publish, alongside the draft Scheme,  a policy paper on the legislative proposals to inform and encourage public debate and to act as a basis for further public consultation on the proposed Bill.

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