Labour may seek rerun of Oireachtas inquiries referendum

Kathleen Lynch says electorate ‘was very angry’ when proposal rejected in 2011

 Minister of State at the Department of Health Kathleen Lynch has indicated a rerun of the Oireachtas inquiries referendum could form part of the Labour Party’s manifesto. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Minister of State at the Department of Health Kathleen Lynch has indicated a rerun of the Oireachtas inquiries referendum could form part of the Labour Party’s manifesto. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

The electorate may be asked to vote again to give more power to politicians to conduct formal inquiries, it has emerged.

Minister of State at the Department of Health Kathleen Lynch indicated a rerun of the Oireachtas inquiries referendum could form part of the Labour Party’s manifesto.

She told RTÉ the electorate was very angry when it voted down the proposal in October 2011 and indicated Labour could hold a repeat referendum if re-elected to Government.

Findings of fact

A referendum on powers to examine the conduct of individuals and make findings of fact against them was rejected, with 52 per cent voting No.

It was defeated after the intervention of eight former attorneys general who wrote a letter to The Irish Times arguing that the change would weaken the rights of individual citizens to protect their good names.

The banking inquiry does not have to power to make findings of fact so its remit was restricted to inquiring into what happened.

Revised report

The committee was to meet on Sunday to discuss the final report. Members are discussing the revised report drafted by Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy and Labour Senator Susan O’Keeffe.

Inquiry members were then to be given a “window of opportunity” on Sunday and on Monday to read the new version of the report, with any amendments lodged by Wednesday.

If agreed, the report will be sent out to those referenced in the report for rights of reply from those who gave evidence.