Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs: Message from the Dáil.

Dáil Éireann has passed the following Resolution in which the concurrence of Seanad Éireann is desired:

(1) That it is expedient that the Orders of Reference of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs be rescinded and that a Joint Committee of both Houses of the Oireachtas, which shall be called the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, be appointed consisting of 21 members of Dáil Éireann and ten members of Seanad Éireann, excluding theex officio members of the Committee referred to in paragraph (7).

(2) That the Joint Committee shall have power to appoint sub-Committees and to delegate any matter comprehended by paragraphs (4), (8), (9) and (11) to a sub-Committee.

(3) That the Select Committee of Dáil Éireann shall consider the Estimates for Public Services submitted to Dáil Éireann in respect of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and report thereon to Dáil Éireann and the Select Committee shall have power to appoint a sub-Committee for this purpose.

(4) That provision be made for the referral to the Joint Committee of Bills initiated in Dáil Éireann by the Minister for Foreign Affairs or a Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Bills initiated in Seanad Éireann by the Leader of the House and originating in the Department of Foreign Affairs.

(5) That in the case of a Bill originating in one House, the motion of referral in the second House shall constitute a Second Reading of the Bill and the debate thereon shall be confined to the general principle of the Bill and where the Third Stage has been dealt with in the Joint Committee, the Bill shall on its receipt in the second House after being passed by the originating House be set down for Report Stage, the First, Second and Third Stages being waived.

(6) That the report of the Joint Committee upon every Bill which is referred to it shall be set down for Report Stage in the originating House.

(7) That the Minister for Foreign Affairs shall be anex officio member of a Committee or sub-Committee which is considering——

(i) a Bill referred to it, or

(ii) Estimates for Public Services,

and may nominate a Minister or Minister of State to be suchex officio member in his or her stead.

(8) That the Joint Committee shall consider the impact on equality of policy and legislation in respect of the Department of Foreign Affairs and report thereon to both Houses of the Oireachtas.

(9) That the Joint Committee shall consider such aspects of Ireland's international relations as the Joint Committee may select and report thereon to both Houses of the Oireachtas.

(10) That any consideration by the Select Committee, the Joint Committee or a sub-Committee of security issues relating to Northern Ireland shall be in private session.

(11) That reports relevant to the Department of Foreign Affairs may be referred to the Joint Committee for discussion, observations and recommendations, and the Joint Committee shall report thereon to both Houses of the Oireachtas.

(12) That the Joint Committee shall make an annual report to both Houses of the Oireachtas which shall detail:

(i) the work carried out by the Committee,

(ii) the work in progress by the Committee,

(iii) the attendance and voting records at meetings of the Committee,

(iv) its future work programme, and

(v) such other matters as the Committee deems appropriate.

(13) That the Select Committee, the Joint Committee and each sub-Committee shall have power to send for persons, but information need not be provided to a Committee or a sub-Committee if a member of the Government certifies in writing that such information is confidential or that its disclosure would be prejudicial to the State's international relations.

(14) That the Select Committee and the Joint Committee shall have power, subject to the consent of the Minister for Finance, to engage the services of persons with specialist or technical knowledge to assist them or a sub-Committee for the purpose of particular enquiries.

(15) That provision be made for the appointment of substitutes to act for members of the Select Committee, of the Joint Committee or of a sub-Committee who are unable to attend particular meetings; and that members of the Oireachtas, not being members of the Joint Committee, may attend meetings and take part in the proceedings of the Joint Committee and each sub-Committee without having a right to vote.

(16) That Members of the European Parliament elected from constituencies in Ireland (including Northern Ireland) and Members of the Irish delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe may attend meetings of the Joint Committee and of its sub-Committees; and that other Members of the European Parliament may, at the invitation of the Joint Committee or of a sub-committee, attend particular meetings. Members of the European Parliament and Members of the Irish delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe attending on such occasions may take part in proceedings without having a right to vote or to table amendments to Bills referred to the Committee under paragraph (4).

(17) That the Select Committee, the Joint Committee and each sub-Committee previous to the commencement of business, shall elect one of its members to be Chairperson, who shall have only one vote.

(18) That all questions in the Select Committee, the Joint Committee and each sub-Committee shall be determined by a majority of votes of the members present and voting and in the event of there being an equality of votes, the question shall be decided in the negative.

(19) That every report which the Select Committee or the Joint Committee proposes to make shall, on adoption by the Committee, be laid before Dáil Éireann or, in the case of a report by the Joint Committee, both Houses of the Oireachtas forthwith, together with any document relating thereto which the Committee proposes to publish, whereupon the Committee shall be empowered to print and publish such report and the said document, or documents, as the case may be.

(20) That notwithstanding paragraph (19), where the Joint Committee has completed Committee Stage of a Bill, it shall be empowered to print and publish the said Bill as amended, where appropriate.

(21) That the Joint Committee shall have the power to discuss and draft proposals for legislative changes and new legislation for recommendation to Ministers which are relevant to the matters comprehended by paragraph (9).

(22) That the Joint Committee shall have the power to receive submissions and hear evidence from interested persons and organisations.

(23) That the Joint Committee shall have power to print and publish from time to time minutes of evidence taken before it together with such related documents as it thinks fit.

(24) That Ministers and Ministers of State shall discuss with the Joint Committee, where practicable, general proposals for legislation relevant to the matters comprehended by paragraph (9) prior to such legislation being approved and published by Government.

(25) That Ministers and Ministers of State shall appear before the Joint Committee to discuss current policies relevant to the matters comprehended by paragraph (9) and the implementation of such policies in their Departments. A Minister or Minister of State may request the Joint Committee to convene to enable him or her to explain current or proposed policy or to initiate a debate thereon.

(26) That the quorum of the Joint Committee shall be 8, the quorum of the Select Committee shall be 5 and the quorum of each sub-Committee shall be a number to be decided by the sub-Committee when such sub-Committee is appointed.

(27) That no document received by the Clerk to the Select Committee, the Joint Committee or a sub-Committee shall be withheld, withdrawn or altered without the knowledge and approval of such Committee.

(28) That the Joint Committee shall have power to liaise and consult, as its deems necessary, with the Joint Committee on European Affairs to ensure co-ordination and co-operation between both Committees in relation to areas of common activities as provided in the respective Orders of Reference.

(29) That the Joint Committee shall have power to request, as it deems appropriate, of the Joint Committee on European Affairs, that a joint meeting of both Committees be held to consider a specific matter or matters of common activity.

(30) That in the case of any joint meeting held with the Joint Committee on European Affairs the following shall apply:—

(i) the Chairperson of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs shall also act as the Chairperson of any such joint meeting and in the event of his or her unavoidable absence from a joint meeting, a temporary Chairperson shall be elected from among the members present and voting;

(ii) the quorum for the joint meeting shall be 9, of whom at least 2 shall be members of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and at least two shall be members of the Joint Committee on European Affairs; and

(iii) the Orders of Reference, as set out herein, shall otherwise continue to apply.

(31) That all appointees to high office in the State shall attend meetings of the Joint Committee, as appropriate, and subject to the legal constraints of their office, to discuss issues which are relevant to the matters comprehended by paragraph (9).