Minutes of Evidence and Reports

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December 2010
16 December 2010
John Rogers Submission on Parliamentary Power of Inquiry
Express authorisation in the constitution for the holding of enquires by the houses of the Oireachtas in exercise of their "parliamentary accountability functions" is probably unnecessary - Ought there be restriction on the scope of investigation by Oireachtas Committees? - Should the investigating power reach into areas of individual conduct? - Should Oireachtas Committees enquire into the actions of big business or be limited to enquiring into the actions of public servants? - Should there be a power to characterise profession misconduct of suggest individual sanction? - Witness protection?
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16 December 2010
Law Society Submission on Parliamentary Power of Inquiry
Article 15 of the Constitution is sparse in detail in relation to the legislative arm of government. However, any implicit powers in Article 15 or otherwise which the Oireachtas possesses - such as a limited power to hold parliamentary inquiries - have been informed by the judicial arm of government and set out in case law. Such a limited power to hold an inquiry must be informed by and subject to other Articles of the Constitution. Well known to members of the Oireachtas Joint Committee is the doctrine of the separation of powers - the division of the functions of government among the three great institutions of state - the legislative, executive and judicial. None of the three branches of government are absolutely separate from one another but the doctrine, in general, ensures inter alia that the Oireachtas legislates and the judiciary adjudicates.
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15 December 2010
Prof. Gary Murphy submission on Parliamentary Power of inquiry (School of Law and Government, Dublin City University)
The Supreme Court decision in Maguire v Ardagh 2002 has led to the rather anomalous position whereby parliament in Ireland has a clear functioning constitutional mandate in relation to the making of laws including private acts that directly affect the right and obligations of natural and legal persons but cannot seem to engage in inquiry by Oireachtas committee into the acts of any citizens who are not Dáil members. Committees have long played an important role in Irish parliamentary life and it would seem to be a political nonsense that the Supreme Court decision has effectively hamstrung the representatives of the Irish people from inquiring into matters of what could well be described as national importance.
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10 December 2010
David Gwynn Morgan Submission on Parliamentary Power of Inquiry
In the decision popularly known as Abbeylara, Supreme Court decision held, by a five to two majority that there are at the moment significant limitations on the power of Oireachtas committees to hold investigations. These show that the Irish Parliament has much less power in this field than its equivalents in almost all other EU Member States. Moreover, the extent of the limitations varies somewhat from one judgment to another. It should be stressed that Parliamentary Committees and Inquiries may take a multitude of forms. In principle, Abbeylara could apply to each of them, in one way or another. In Abbeylara, the Supreme Court, the Gardaí, whose conduct was under investigation, successfully sought judicial review to prevent the inquiry from going ahead. Essentially, they took five points: (i) Given the terms of the 1997 Act, the procedure followed by the Sub-Committee was flawed in a number of respects; (ii) The sub-committee had failed to follow the first rule of constitutional justice (the 'no bias' rule). (iii) The sub-committee had failed to observe the second rule of constitutional justice (audi alteram partem);
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05 December 2010
Dr. Eoin O'Malley submission on the Parliamentary Power of Inquiry, School of Law and Government, Dublin City University
The decision in Maguire v. Ardagh ([2002] 1 IR 385) has placed severe limitations on the ability of the Houses of the Oireachtas to hold inquires into matters of public policy failure. In the case the Supreme Court found limited investigative functions available to the Houses. It argued that; "as there was no provision in the Constitution which expressly authorised the Oireachtas to conduct inquiries of the nature which had been undertaken by the Abbeylara sub-committee, any such power must be inherent or implied. 2. That the constitutional right to protection of one's good name had to be given due weight in considering the question of balance of rights.
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03 December 2010
Donncha O'Connell submission on Parliamentary Power of Inquiry (NUI Galway)
The context in which I and others make submissions to this Committee on the parliamentary power of inquiry is one in which there appears to be some appreciable momentum towards systemic political reform of a potentially radical kind. It remains to be seen whether this is a genuine response to a real crisis of confidence in the political system or an elite concern of those in the so-called 'Leinster House bubble', the bubble into which people like myself, with some book-learning and anxious curiosity, peer like busybodies keen to share our opinions!
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01 December 2010
Bar Council Submission on Parliamentary Powers of Inquiry
This submission will address the following issues: The status of the Oireachtas under the Constitution; An outline of the Abbeylara case; The inherent investigative powers of the Oireachtas; The constitutional rights of citizens relevant to Oireachtas investigations; The judicial power in the State; Judicial guidance on permissible and impermissible inquiries.
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November 2010
03 November 2010
Joint Committee on the Constitution Hearings on the Parliamentary Power of Inquiry 2010 - 2011
Joint Committee on the Constitution Hearings on the Parliamentary Power of Inquiry  Article 15 of the Constitution - Review of Parliamentary Power of Inquiry
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