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Attendance by Members at Oireachtas Committees

The Association has written (May 2020) to the Ceann Comhairle regarding arrangements for attendance by members at Oireachtas Committees.

The attention of members is drawn to the following guidance on this matter which has been included in correspondence sent to departmental officials inviting them to attend at Oireachtas Committees (emphasis added).

Members of the Committee have absolute privilege in respect of statements made in either House of the Oireachtas or before the Committee.

The evidence of witnesses physically present or who give evidence from within the parliamentary precincts is protected, pursuant to both the Constitution and statute, by absolute privilege.

However, witnesses who are to give evidence from a location outside the parliamentary precincts are asked to note that they may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as a witness giving evidence from within the parliamentary precincts does and may consider it appropriate to take legal advice on this matter.

On 15 May 2020, the Chair of the Association wrote to the Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann in regard to the attendance by our members at Oireachtas Committees. A copy of that letter can be accessed here.

A reply was received from the Ceann Comhairle on 18 May 2020 and a copy is available here.

Since the exchange of correspondence on this matter the difficulties that some members previously experienced have not arisen again.