Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD has this evening warned against Minister Howlin’s intention to rush the pre-legislative scrutiny stage of the General Scheme of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Bill 2012.
Deputy McDonald welcomed and invitation from the Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform for submissions on the draft heads of the Bill.
Deputy McDonald, a member of the committee, said:
“It is critically important that citizens be given the opportunity to engage with the Oireachtas Inquiries legislation in advance of its publication. The Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform will play an important role in the public scrutiny of the legislation.
“Minister Howlin’s determination to rush the pre-legislative scrutiny stage of the bill is deeply disappointing, particularly in the context of last years failed Oireachtas Inquiries referendum. We welcome this bill however there is nothing to be gained but suspicion and discord by rushing through the public engagement stage of the legislative process.
“An invitation for submissions from civic society is to be welcomed however the reality is the Minister has called on the Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Committee to rush the consultative phase of the legislation. It is also worth noting that Minister Howlin is making this demand of the committee during budget time which is the least appropriate time of the year to make such a request of a committee that deals with finance and public expenditure.
“I wrote to the Committee Chair earlier this month asking that adequate time be given to public scrutiny of the drafts heads of the bill and that those who were most critical of the Oireachtas Inquiries referendum be given an opportunity to discuss the new legislation with the committee. It is my intention to raise this concern again with both the committee chair and Minister Howlin.” ENDS