In a speech delivered in the Dáil yesterday, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD outlined the need for an effective committee system and gave details of the Governments plans to reform the system.
Among the planned reforms will be that Oireachtas committees will share the burden of dealing with EU policies and legislative proposals thus increasing engagement with the EU.
Committees should also be permitted to carry out full investigations. It is also a “matter of urgent priority” that a constitutional referendum is held so as to reverse the Abbeylara judgement and thus allow committees this power.
The establishment of an Investigations, Oversight and Petitions Committee, structured along the line of the Public Accounts Committee was also called for by the Minister. This would serve as a formal channel of consultation between the Oireachtas and the Ombudsman, responsible for ensuring her recommendations are acted upon.
Furthermore, rather than solely scrutinise legislation, which must continue to be conducted in a meaningful way, committees will be permitted to introduce legislation themselves.
Finally, every fourth sitting week will be a committee week.
In the most recent issue of the Public Affairs Ireland Journal, Garrett Fennell questions whether the new Committees, due to be announced later today, will deliver real reform. To veiw this issue please click here.