High Court Judicial Review: Motion.

I move:

That leave be given by Seanad Éireann to the Clerk of Seanad Éireann to bring and produce to the High Court the documents and records relating to the High Court Judicial Review Number 67 of 1990.

The purpose of this motion is to comply with the provision of Standing Order 71 of the Standing Orders relative to Public Business which provides for the custody of records and documents of the Seanad. The Standing Order states:

The custody of the journal of the proceedings, records and all other documents whatsoever belonging to the Seanad shall be in the Clerk who shall neither take nor permit to be taken any such journal of proceedings, records or documents from the chamber or offices without the express leave of the Seanad provided that in the event of the Seanad being adjourned for any period longer than a week such leave may be given by the Cathaoirleach who shall report the same to the Seanad on its reassembling.

A sub poena has been served on the Clerk of the Seanad. She is obliged to appear, bring with her and produce at the High Court all records in her possession relating to judicial review proceedings which were taken by Senator Norris last March against a member of the Committee of Procedure and Privileges. The legal advice obtained by the office is that the Clerk must attend at the High Court and bring the relevant documents, notwithstanding the fact that the admissibility of the documents as evidence is a matter for the court itself. Under Standing Order 71, it is necessary, therefore, that the House agree to Motion No. 3 so that the Clerk can comply with the terms of the sub poena.

As Senators will appreciate, it is not appropriate to discuss the subject matter of the actual case which is listed for hearing in the High Court on 15 February as it is sub judice. I sincerely hope the Senators will understand the need for this motion and, indeed, agree to its terms. I want to stress again that the terms of the motion only comply with the requirements in the Standing Order. It simply permits the Clerk to bring the documents to the court. The admissibility of the documents as evidence is a decision that will be made later by the High Court.

Could I ask the Leader if he has taken legal advice and that the legal advice means that there is no option but to follow the procedure which he has indicated?

I have taken legal advice. The position is as I have outlined. If we do not comply we will be deemed to be in contempt of court. Indeed, what could happen is that there would be a warrant for the arrest of the Clerk of the Seanad, and we do not want that.

There should not be any messing about this. This should be agreed straightaway. The Committee of Procedure and Privileges will have to have a discussion about it subsequently. I think that we are only messing around and will delay the proceedings. In the final analysis, we will have to produce the documents anyway.

Question put and agreed to.