Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Questions (114)

Micheál Martin


114. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views on the commitment in the Programme for Government in which it is planned to hold a referendum to protect the right of the citizens to communicate in confidence with public representatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25197/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The Programme for Government contained a commitment to address the issue of confidential communications with Members through constitutional change. Following a detailed policy assessment and on the basis of legal analysis, it has now been decided to legislate in relation to this issue. The Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries Privileges and Procedures) Bill 2013 provides for qualified privilege for confidential communication from members of the public to Members of either House. This will facilitate those who wish to draw wrongdoing to the attention of Members of the Oireachtas without having their identities disclosed other than in defined exceptional circumstances. The privilege provided for in the Bill is intended to apply in all circumstances and is not restricted to inquiries carried out under the Bill.