Establishment of Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Motion

I move:

That, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders—

(1) Dáil Éireann hereby appoints a Committee, to be known as the Special Committee on Covid-19 Response (hereinafter referred to as 'the Committee'), to consider and take evidence on the State's response to the Covid-19 pandemic;

(2) the membership of the Committee shall not exceed nineteen members, appointed by notice in writing to the Ceann Comhairle as follows:

(a) the Government, Fianna Fáil, and Sinn Féin shall each be entitled to appoint four members;

(b) the Green Party, the Labour Party, Social Democrats, Solidarity-People Before Profit, the Regional Group, the Rural Independent Group, and the Independent Group shall each be entitled to appoint one member;

(3) the Ceann Comhairle shall announce the names of the members appointed pursuant to paragraph (2) for the information of the Dáil on the first sitting day following their appointment;

(4) the quorum of the Committee shall be seven;

(5) the Committee shall elect one of its members to be Chairman;

(6) it shall be an instruction to the Committee that the taking of oral evidence from any one witness or group of witnesses in a single session shall not exceed 2 hours in each case;

(7) in the absence of a member nominated to serve on the Committee, one substitute may be nominated in accordance with Standing Order 106 for each two-hour session of the Committee: Provided that a substitute may only be nominated by prior written notice to the Clerk to the Committee;

(8) on a proposal by the Committee, the Business Committee shall agree the arrangements for the taking of the Committee's business as part of the Business Committee's weekly report under Standing Order 31, including but not limited to, the agenda for each meeting, the witnesses to be examined, and the format of the meeting, including time limits for presentations and questions; and

(9) subject to paragraphs (6) and (8), the Committee shall have the following powers:

(a) power to invite and receive oral and written evidence, oral presentations and written submissions from Ministers and witnesses in accordance with Standing Order 96(1) and (2);

(b) power to appoint sub-Committees in accordance with Standing Order 96(4);

(c) power to draft recommendations for legislative change and for new legislation in accordance with Standing Order 96(5), and to examine any statutory instrument which it considers relevant to its orders of reference in accordance with Standing Order 96(6) and (7);

(d) power to require that a member of the Government or Minister of State shall attend before the Committee to discuss policy, proposed primary or secondary legislation, post-enactment reports on legislation, or matters relating to meetings of relevant EU Councils of Ministers that, in the opinion of the Committee, relates to its orders of reference and for which the member of the Government or Minister of State is officially responsible in accordance with Standing Order 96(8), (9), (10) and (12);

(e) power to require that principal officeholders in bodies in the State which are partly or wholly funded by the State or which are established or appointed by members of the Government or by the Oireachtas shall attend meetings of the Select Committee, as appropriate, to discuss issues in relation to Covid-19 for which they are officially responsible in accordance with Standing Order 96(11) and (13);

(f) power to engage the services of persons with specialist or technical knowledge in accordance with Standing Order 96(14); and

(g) power to report to the Dáil in accordance with Standing Order 100(1)."

Question put and agreed to.