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New Parliamentary Petitions System places citizens at heart of Oireachtas

For the first time, members of the public have a dedicated channel to take their policy concerns directly to the heart of Parliament and to influence the parliamentary agenda.

13 September 2012
A parliamentary petitions system was launched at the Ballymun Axis Centre today Thursday 13 September, in the presence of representatives of citizens groups.

The Joint Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions will receive and process public petitions submitted to the Houses of the Oireachtas, with a view to identifying improvements in the delivery of public services to citizens.

Committee Cathaoirleach Peadar Tóibín TD says: “‘This is an important innovation in Parliamentary democracy. For the first time in the 93 year history of the Oireachtas citizens will have a direct route to influence the parliamentary agenda.

“Those best qualified to comment on the effectiveness of our public services are its users. Therefore the experiences of our citizens will now be placed at the centre of the development and delivery of effective public services.”

View YouTube clip of Cathaoirleach introducing the petitions system.

Access a Questions and Answers document further outlining how the system works

Access the Oireachtas petitions page and make a petition.

Background: Making a petition

  • Any member of the public can submit a petition on a matter of general public interest or concern. Just one signature is required and there is no limit to the numbers who can support a petition.  Petitioners should demonstrate that they have already taken steps to resolve the issue raised in their petition, for example, through raising it with the Ombudsman, public bodies, or directly with the relevant Government Department.
  • Care must be taken to prepare petitions to ensure they comply with Oireachtas rules. There is a standard form which we request all petitioners to complete. This is available at petitions.oireachtas.ie and can be completed and submitted online, emailed or sent by post. The secretariat is also on hand to assist the public in completing this form and also to give advice on the type of petitions which can be accepted.
  • A petition must relate to matters on which the Houses of the Oireachtas have the power to act and must not name individuals, relate to an on-going court case or contain language which is offensive or defamatory.

Committee Membership
Richard Boyd Barrett, People Before Profit Alliance
Dara Calleary, Fianna Fáil
Joan Collins, People Before Profit Alliance
Michael Conaghan, Labour
Alan Farrell, Fine Gael
Charles Flanagan, Fine Gael
Michael Healy-Rae, Independent
Peter Mathews, Fine Gael
Michael McCarthy, Labour (Leas-Chathaoirleach)
Charlie McConalogue, Fianna Fáil
Michelle Mulherin, Fine Gael
Derek Nolan, Labour
Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Sinn Féin
John Paul Phelan, Fine Gael
Peadar Tóibín, Sinn Féin (Cathaoirleach)

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