I beg leave to introduce a Bill to enable each of the Houses of the Oireachtas and any Committee of either House, and any Joint Committee of both House, to administer oaths to witnesses. I might briefly state that this Bill is being introduced on behalf of the Joint Committee on Standing Orders for Private Business. It was found by them that the existing legislation dealing with the administering of oaths and affirmations to witnesses before Committees examining into Private Bills was not applicable to Committees appointed by the Dáil or the Seanad or by both Houses. Consequently, Senator Brown kindly drafted the Bill which has been approved by the Attorney-General and which I am now asking leave to introduce. Perhaps I might remind Senators that of course a Bill is not printed or circulated until leave has been given to introduce it. If leave is now given the Bill will be circulated.
PUBLIC BUSINESS. - OIREACHTAS WITNESSES OATHS BILL, 1924 (FIRST STAGE).
This Bill was absolutely essential, because, of course, the Parliamentary Committees would be greatly handicapped and hampered in their work if they had no power to administer an oath. It is a purely formal matter.
Leave given to introduce Bill.
Bill read a First Time.