The legislative proposals contained in Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Bill 2012 are primarily underpinned by a comprehensive legal analysis of the constitutional requirements set down in the Abbeylara case. The process was also informed by an examination of provisions for parliamentary inquiries in a number of other jurisdictions from existing published sources and research within my Department.
For further information on the position in other jurisdictions taken into account in the Department’s work I would refer the Deputy to the following:
- Research paper prepared by the Oireachtas Library and Research Service for the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution on the powers of inquiry of national parliaments in selected comparative jurisdictions. This paper is available at: http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?fn=/documents/Committees30thDail/J-Constitution/Submissions/document1.htm
- Parliamentary committees of inquiry in national systems: a comparative survey of EU Member States, which provides an update and extension of a 2007 overview of national provisions for parliamentary committees of inquiry. This paper is available at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/afco/studiesdownload.html?languageDocument=EN&file=66151
- Appendix 3 of the Committee of Public Accounts Report on the crisis in the domestic banking sector: A preliminary analysis and a framework for a banking inquiry – Inquiries in other jurisdictions. This paper is available at: http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/media/committees/pac/PAC-Report---FINAL.pdf
The Department also considered other information regarding the design and operation of inquiry systems in other jurisdictions available from internet searches.
The Deputy may wish to note that a key conclusion that emerged from the Department’s review of the international position is that national differences in the constitutional, legal, parliamentary and political environment are such that there is no one recommended or best practice model for parliamentary inquiries. Rather the approach taken in different jurisdictions reflect the interplay over time of multiple and often unique national factors and characteristics.