New legislation to allow Oireachtas Inquiries

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has today outline his plans for to allow Oireachtas Inquires within the limits of the rejection of the constitutional referendum last year.
the RTE report is here.
The official announcement is here
The Bill will now be drafted so much is still to be played for, It will however be interesting to see at what stage it is given to the relevant committee to debate and decide. Clearly if this is to be about empowering the Oireachtas rather than the executive then very significant input must be given to Oireachtas Committee on Petitions and Inquiries.

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7 thoughts on “New legislation to allow Oireachtas Inquiries

  1. And just as a parting gift to anyone here who might be interested, this:

    http://www.dublineconomics.com/papers/energy.pdf

    is a link to the paper I presented at the Dublin Economics Workshop annual economic conference a fortnight ago in Galway.

    It shows that the ESB has been gouging, and continues to gouge, an average of €200 million a year from final consumers – and that Bord Gais is gouging an amount close to €100 million a year. This is an implicit, regressive, deadweight ‘financing tax’ that is placing an unnecessary and excessive burden on electricity and gas consumers (i.e., all citizens) and on the economy at a time of severe economic pressure.

    I have brought this to attention of the Oireachtas sub_Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, they will do with it – and should provide an insight in to what resourcing and empowering of Oireachtas Cttees is required (in contrast to the conveniently minimalist changes proposed by Minister Howlin).

    • Paul,

      Many thanks for the link to your DEW paper. As to what response you will get from the Oireacthas sub-Committee it’s hard to guess, but I wouldn’t hold my breath!

      • Veronica,

        It’s my pleasure. I’ve also written to the Minister asking him politely why he dismissed my findings (http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2012/1013/1224325224176.html) without, apparently, having given them any review or consideration. I’m not holding my breath on that front either!

        We get no end of academic pontification about ‘political reform’ in the abstract. But we can best see the shortcomings of the current democratic institutions and procedures when they are confronted with a specific issue that should be of public interest and concern and we can then form a view on what needs to be done in practice.

  2. The Minister’s announcement is grossly inadequate and premature. It reads more like a ‘spin’ job than a serious statement of planned reform to improve the efficacy of the Committee System. Surely he could have published the ‘Heads of the Bill’, which he would have presumably brought before Cabinet? Until such time as the proposed contents of the legislation are published, there can be no serious discussion of what is being proposed. Not surprisingly, the press statement engendered a lukewarm response, peppered with frustration. It seems this government has not learned anything from its experience with its ill-conceived and failed referendum.

    • Thanks to you and B for pointing this out. I got it wrong, so my remarks are unfair and unfounded. Likely the Minister is going as far as he can with this reform, or as far as his colleagues in government will allow him to; but the debate should be interesting when the Bill gets into the Dail. Meanwhile, Im off to kick myself…and make an overdue visit to SpecSavers.

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