Plan for five new forms of inquiry


The Government yesterday announced five new forms of inquiry that can be carried out by Oireachtas committees without breaching the severe restrictions imposed on parliamentary investigations by the Abbeylara judgment.

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin got Government approval at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting to draft the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures Bill) 2012.

The legislation includes a number of new departures, including two new types of inquiry that will deal with the process to impeach judges and presidents, as well as dealing with the conduct of a TD or Senator.

These new forms of inquiry will address some of the ambiguities, uncertainties, flaws and legal lacunae that were associated with the impeachment process related to former circuit court judge Brian Curtin, and also with hearings held by an Oireachtas Committee into the conduct of former senator Ivor Callely.

Two different styles of inquiry have been included that will not run foul of the Abbeylara judgment. The first is an “inquire, record and report” style inquiry. This allows a committee to record and report evidence, but only to make findings of fact where it is uncontested.

The other, described as a `forward-looking’ inquiry, will be empowered to make findings of fact in the context of investigations relating to the legislative functions of the Oireachtas.

The Oireachtas committees conducting inquiries will have full powers of compellability of witnesses and evidence, but those who appear will also have their constitutional rights to a fair hearing fully protected.

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.