In each EU country national parliaments have the power to conduct full inquiries. In Ireland, since the 2002 Supreme Court decision in the Abbeylara case, that is not the position here. This is the issue that the people of Ireland are being asked to change in the forthcoming referendum.
The case for allowing parliamentary committees to conduct full inquiries is a sensible one. Parliamentary committees have a central role in overseeing the performance of our public administration. Parliamentary committees will prove less expensive than tribunals or other inquiry methods. Prior to the Abbeylara decision we already held successful inquiries like the DIRT inquiry.
Labour Minister Brendan Howlin has already published a Bill which explains how the process will work if the people pass this amendment.
Our aim is to have inquiries that are fair, effective and efficient. If approved by you, they will be an important tool in our armoury to ensure our public administration is fully accountable.