Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Questions (43)

Joe McHugh


43. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide an update on political reform; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42300/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Work is ongoing in relation to the political reform priorities included in the Programme for Government. The summary position in relation to specific elements of the government reform programme is as follows:-

- The Ombudsman (Amendment) Act 2012 is now in force extending the Ombudsman’s remit and strengthens the Ombudsman’s powers;

- The Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries Privileges and Procedures) Act 2013 has recently been commenced;

- The Regulation of Lobbying Bill is currently being drafted by the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and the General Scheme of the Bill have been referred to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance and Public Expenditure Reform for pre-legislative scrutiny;

- The Protected Disclosures Bill 2013, establishing a detailed and comprehensive legislative framework protecting whistleblowers in all sectors of the economy, has passed Committee Stage in the Seanad;

- The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill 2013, published in July 2013, completed Second Stage in the Dáil last week. The Bill restores Ireland’s FOI legislation and extends FOI to all public bodies;

- A revised draft Code of Practice for FOI for Public Bodies is in the process of being finalised drawing on the report and recommendations of expert FOI users, advocates and researchers;

- Work is continuing on developing proposals for consideration by Government for an overhaul of ethics legislation in response to the findings and recommendations of the final report of the Mahon Tribunal as well as to consolidate, modernise and simplify the existing legislative framework;

- Work is underway on the development of Ireland’s first Open Government Partnership (OGP) national action plan in consultation with civil society interests;

- A comprehensive programme of Statute Law Revision has been approved by Government. The first Bill developed under this new programme is expected to deal with pre-1922 secondary legislation; and

- A review of the existing accountability framework for ministers and civil servants has been undertaken. A consultation paper based on the outcome of that review is currently being finalised.

Question No. 44 answered with Question No. 19.