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McDonald responds to Supreme Court Judgement on Kerins Case

29 May, 2019 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Responding to today’s Supreme Court judgement, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has said the decision of the Court must be respected adding that it is time now for the Houses of the Oireachtas to review current standing orders and committee procedures to protect committees from a possible chilling effect on their work. 

The Dublin Central TD said:

“Whilst today’s decision by the Supreme Court must be respected, there can be no doubt that it could have a chilling effect on how Oireachtas committees conduct their normal business.

“The Oireachtas committee system is an important check and balance within our system of parliamentary democracy. Oireachtas members have a duty to hold decision makers to account. The public expect no less from those they elect to represent them.

“Time and again, we have seen the central role Oireachtas committees have played in holding to account those responsible for scandals within An Garda Síochána, the HSE, and the charity sector.

“Holding to account those in receipt of significant public monies ensures public confidence in the ability of the Oireachtas to pursue matters of public interest.

“Substantial reforms in An Garda Síochána, the HSE, and the charity sector have come about from public outrage and the perusal of these scandals by Oireachtas committees.  

“Now that the Supreme Court has concluded its judgment, the Oireachtas must review the statute law, standing orders, and committee procedures that govern the committee system. 

“The working group established to consider changes to the Oireachtas standing orders and related matters following today’s judgment must address the inevitable chilling effect of the judgment on how the committee system conducts its normal business.

“TDs and Senators cannot be curtailed in their duty to protect the public interest, nor must the platforms of accountability in the Oireachtas be stifled in their ability to hold bodies and agencies in receipt of substantial public monies to account.”

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