Referendum on Abbeylara proposed


The Government has decided to hold a constitutional referendum this year to provide additional powers to Oireachtas Committees investigating matters of public interest.

Speaking in the Dáil today, after the publication of the Nyberg report into the Irish banking crisis, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Cabinet had agreed to prioritise legislation for a referendum on the Abbeylara judgment.

The Supreme Court found the Oireachtas does not have an inherent power to conduct inquiries, and that it overstepped its jurisdiction when it set up the Abbeylara inquiry into the shooting of John Carthy in Abbeylara, Co Longford, in 2000.

This judgment has frustrated subsequent attempts to set up inquiries into other matters that could result in the apportionment of blame.

Mr Kenny told TDs the referendum would propose much stronger powers of investigation and ability for Oireachtas committees, including the ability to compel witnesses to appear.

Speaking after the publication of the Nyberg report Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said justice had not only to be done, but to be seen to be done

“I think it would be proper that those who are personally culpable would be brought before an Oireachtas Committee and would answer for what they have done or indeed for their omissions,” the Minister said.