The Ceann Comhairle, Mr Séan Ó Fearghaíl TD, established a Forum on Parliamentary Privilege on 21 July 2017.

In carrying out its work, the forum examined the various factors impacting on the operation of privilege in the Dáil, including the provisions of the Constitution and the provisions of Standing Orders. The forum also examined the operation of parliamentary privilege in other jurisdictions, and a range of submissions on the subject of privilege, made by parliamentarians and others.

The forum has considered how privilege is necessary for TDs to fulfil their electoral mandate, but also how this has to be weighed up against the potentially adverse effects on people outside the House of things said in the Dáil Chamber. The forum examined the way in which these two factors should be balanced against each other, in a manner that supports the rights of TDs, while giving an opportunity to people outside the House to a ‘right of reply’.

The forum made its report to the Ceann Comhairle on 21 December 2017.

Report

The Forum on Parliamentary Privilege has published its report to the Ceann Comhairle. The report contains 12 recommendations designed to support and enhance the operation of the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Relevant documents

You can read the terms of reference of the forum and the data protection policy for handling submissions received.

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.
Séan Ó Fearghaíl, Ceann Comhairle

Members of the forum

Conleth Bradley

Conleth Bradley

Conleth Bradley SC is a practising barrister specialising in constitutional and administrative law.

David Farrell

David Farrell

Professor David Farrell holds the Chair of Politics at UCD where he is Head of Politics and International Relations. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy, Speaker of the Council of the European Consortium for Political Research, and a former President of the Political Studies Association of Ireland.  His research focuses on the study of parties, elections and parliaments. He is currently the ‘research leader’ of the Irish Citizens’ Assembly, and a member of the Welsh Assembly’s Expert Panel on Electoral Reform.

Mary Hanafin

Mary Hanafin

Mary Hanafin was a TD from 1997-2011. She held a number of Ministerial appointments, including Government Chief Whip, where she developed knowledge of the rules and procedures of Dáil Éireann. She is currently a Councillor on Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

Conor Brady

Conor Brady

Conor Brady was editor of The Irish Times from 1986 to 2003, having held senior roles in print and broadcast journalism. He was a founding Commissioner of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and serves on a number of state boards. He writes weekly on current affairs and politics for The Sunday Times.

Further information

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