21 July 2017
The Ceann Comhairle, Mr Séan Ó Fearghaíl TD, today announced the establishment of an expert forum on Dáil Privilege.
This forum will examine issues surrounding the Constitutional right to freedom of debate and will offer advice and recommendations to the Ceann Comhairle which will be brought to the Committee on Procedure of Dáil Éireann.
Speaking on today’s announcement the Ceann Comhairle said “This forum will inform the Committee on Procedure as part of its consideration of the issue. It will examine how Constitutional privilege should be applied in a modern Parliament and in particular the application of existing rules. As Chair, I am acutely aware of the need to balance the Constitutional right to freedom of debate during Parliamentary proceedings, and the right of private individuals to their good name. I have asked the forum to examine possible sanctions for breaches of privilege and appropriate mechanisms for those adversely affected to vindicate their good name.”
“I have asked four highly respected individuals from different professional backgrounds to join the forum. They are:
• Professor David Farrell, Chair of Politics at University College Dublin and Head of the School of Politics and International Relations;
• Mr. Conleth Bradley, Senior Counsel;
• Mr. Conor Brady, former editor of the Irish Times;
• Ms. Mary Hanafin, Former Government Chief Whip.
“The forum will convene for the first time next week and its detailed work will commence in September. I have asked the forum to produce a report for me by the end of November.”
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