The Dáil is to change standing orders to allow the European Central Bank examine Private Members' motions.
The Oireachtas business committee is to meet today to discuss correspondence from the ECB, which requested sight of any Bills by Opposition TDs that affect currency, banks or matters relating to financial institutions.
The committee was advised to revise standing orders to comply with the new direction by the ECB.
The amendments will mean any Private Members’ Bills that proceed to committee stage must be sent to the bank. They cannot be forwarded until “the outcome of the consultation with the European Central Bank” has been sought and considered.
While the ECB’s opinion will not be binding, the committee was warned of serious consequences if its opinion was not sought.
The Anti-Austerity Alliance-People before Profit group is seeking a full debate on the matter in the House.
Members’ Bills The ECB wrote to the Government two weeks ago requesting any
Private Members’ Bills that could have effects on currency, means of payment, national banks and certain matters relating to financial institutions be referred to them.
The correspondence was forwarded to the Dáil’s business committee, which was warned of “potentially very serious consequences” for failure to comply.
Legal advice offered to the TDs said a refusal to consult could mean the European Commission taking proceedings against Ireland.
The ECB’s intervention was sparked by a Fianna Fáil motion on mortgage interest rates.
The Dáil has recently passed a proposal by the Fianna Fáil party to introduce legislation to allocate the Central Bank new powers in order to tackle high mortgage interest rates.
It is understood the ECB then contacted the Government to insist on such measures being forwarded to them in future.
The requirement to consult with the ECB was only a necessity for the Government and was managed through the Department of Finance.
However, an issue has now arisen because of the make-up of the current Dáil and the increased likelihood of Private Members’ Bills progressing through the Houses and becoming law.
A recent parliamentary question from Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty confirmed the ECB's opinion has been sought on over 35 pieces of legislation.