Adams calls for Recall of Dáil
Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has expressed his serious concern that the controversy around Siteserv and the recent court proceedings by businessman Denis O Brien “threaten the freedom of the press and are a direct attack on the right of Oireachtas representatives to speak freely and in the public interest in the Dáil and Seanad.”
The Sinn Féin leader said:
“The Oireachtas needs to reassert its authority in this situation. I have written to the Taoiseach asking that the government recall the Dáil next week to discuss this important constitutional issue. This is imperative given that almost the entire opposition signed up to a motion seeking a full Commission of Investigation into the sale of Siteserv.
“The government should also immediately seek clarification from the Attorney General on the rights of Oireachtas members in respect of Dáil privilege and the media in reporting this.”
Teachta Adams said:
“Parliamentary privilege is a cornerstone of how the Oireachtas operates. Protected by the constitution, TDs and Senators must be secure in the knowledge that they can speak freely and frankly on issues of grave national importance.
“Teachta Catherine Murphy acted in good faith on information given to her on a matter that is extremely serious. Now, the courts are being used in an attempt to subvert the constitution and to shut down the ability of the media to report on matters of significant public interest.
“Article 15.12 of the constitution states ‘All… utterances made in either House wherever published shall be privileged.’
“Despite this, the court action by Mr. O Brien and claims by his lawyers that Teachta Murphy’s information are covered by an existing temporary injunction have ensured that the media are reluctant to report comments in the Dáil.
“This unacceptable situation undermines the integrity of the Dáil, of our democratic Parliamentary system, and denies the public information which it has a right to.
“In recent months, there have also been attempts in the Dáil to gag Dáil members, including Mary Lou McDonald, from exercising their constitutional right to inform the public.
“The Oireachtas needs to reassert its authority in this situation. I have written to the Taoiseach asking that the government recall the Dáil next week to discuss this important constitutional issue. “This is imperative, given that almost the entire opposition signed up to a motion seeking a full Commission of Investigation into the sale of Siteserv.”