Establishment of Seanad Public Consultation Committee: Motion

I move:

That, in accordance with the recommendation of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges pursuant to Standing Order 96(1)(a) –

(1) a select committee which shall be called the Seanad Public Consultation Committee, “the Committee”, shall be appointed to facilitate direct engagement and consultation between members of the public and Seanad Éireann on specific issues related to the legislative powers of the Seanad or an issue of public policy;

(2) the Committee shall consist of 11 members, including the Leas-Chathaoirleach who, ex officio, shall be Chairman of the Committee and the quorum of the Committee shall be five;

(3) the Committee –

(a) shall identify for examination specific issues related to the legislative powers of the Seanad or an issue of public policy;

(b) shall, for the purposes of subparagraph (a), have the powers defined in Standing Order 71(1) and (2);

(c) shall, in respect of any issue it identifies for examination in accordance with subparagraph (a), exercise its power under Standing Order 71(2) by public notice which shall specify the issue on which written submissions are invited and the date by which they must be received by the Committee: provided that the Committee may also invite written submissions directly from interested persons or bodies;

(d) shall review submissions received by it, determine whether such submissions are admissible in accordance with the criteria set out in paragraph (8) of this Standing Order, reject any submission which it rules to be inadmissible and consider what action, if any, to take in relation to submissions which it judges to be admissible; and

(e) shall, for the purposes of subparagraphs (a) and (d) of this paragraph, meet in private;

(4) the Committee may meet in public in the Seanad Chamber for the purpose of taking oral evidence;

(5) paragraphs (2) to (6), inclusive, of Standing Order 76 shall not apply to the Committee;

(6) in addition to its obligation under Standing Order 76(1) to lay every report made by it before the Seanad, the Committee may refer any report made by it to the relevant joint committee;

(7) written submissions to the Committee shall clearly indicate the name of the person or body making the submission and a postal or e-mail address;

(8) a submission is admissible unless it –

(a) requests the Seanad to do anything other than the Seanad has power to do;

(b) does not comply with Standing Orders or is otherwise not in proper form;

(c) it contains any matter which is sub judice within the meaning of Standing Order 47;

(d) comments on, criticises or makes charges against a person outside the House or an official, either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable;

(e) contains language which is offensive or defamatory;

(f) is the same as, or in substantially similar terms to, a submission made by or on behalf of the same person or body during the lifetime of the Committee.

Question put and agreed to.
Sitting suspended at 4.35 p.m. and resumed at 6 p.m.