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Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD elected Chair of the Committee on Public Oversight and Petitions

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD has this evening been elected Chair of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions.

30 January 2013

Speaking after his election Deputy Mac Lochlainn said: “I thank my colleagues on the Committee for electing me Chairman. I expect the Committee will continue working collaboratively and productively across party lines to hold our government departments and public bodies to account for the services they provide to the public. I hope to lead the Committee in becoming a robust champion on behalf of the citizens we serve.

“I wish to pay tribute to the outgoing Cathaoirleach Peadar Tóibín TD, whose careful stewardship and commitment led to the launch of a new petitions system in September. This is a significant innovation, in that for the first time in the 93 year history of the Oireachtas, citizens now have a direct route to influence the parliamentary agenda. We have since received a steady flow of petitions from individuals and groups around the country, on a wide variety of topics.

“An empowering feature of the petitions system is that it is open and accessible to every single citizen. And history proves it often takes the resolve of just one or two civic minded people to make a stand and effect substantial change.

“The petitions system, working to its full potential, can make the parliamentary system more accessible and more participative. I would argue that, contrary to much public commentary, our parliamentary process is already relatively open. With Leinster House receiving over 100,000 visitors a year, Irish people know well how consequential to their lives the business of the Oireachtas is. We can watch every minute of Oireachtas business live and read the record of the parliament online. Our Committee will help channel the appetite of Irish people for public engagement in a structured and meaningful way.

“Another important feature of our work is the engagement with the various Ombudsmen. In December, our Committee heard a forceful and candid contribution from Emily O’Reilly which criticised the Department of Health for not implementing recommendations by her office. We as a committee will use the full extent of the power at our disposal to ensure that there is full compliance with the law and that citizens' rights are vindicated. We look forward to engaging with the Minister for Health James Reilly TD at our next meeting on 6 February.”

For further information please contact:
Paul Hand,
Houses of the Oireachtas,
Communications Unit,
Leinster House,
Dublin 2
P: +3531 618 4484
M: +353 87 694 9926
F: +3531 618 4551

Committee Membership
Deputies:
Richard Boyd-Barrett, Independent
Joan Collins, People Before Profit Alliance
Michael Conaghan, Labour
Alan Farrell, Fine Gael
Charles Flanagan, Fine Gael
Michael Healy-Rae, Independent
Padraig Mac Lochlainn, Sinn Féin
Peter Mathews, Fine Gael
Michael McCarthy, Labour
Charlie McConalogue, Fianna Fáil
Michelle Mulherin, Fine Gael
Derek Nolan, Labour
Seán Ó Ferghaíl, Fianna Fáil
Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Sinn Féin
John Paul Phelan, Fine Gael

Senators:
Thomas Byrne
Trevor Ó Clochartaigh
Jimmy Harte
Tony Mulcahy
Susan O’Keeffe