Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Sector Reform Seán Fleming TD has secured the postponement of sub-committee appointments at today’s meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Public Sector Reform.
He explained, “This Government announced with great fanfare that they were reducing the number of Oireachtas committees. However, on closer inspection, it is clear that any reduction in committees has been more than offset by a proliferation of departmental sub-committees – each with the same remit and role as the former full departmental committees.
“The only difference in the new scheme is that the democratic accountability of each line Minister has actually been reduced. Under govt s agenda proposals, the Minister will only be fully scrutinised by a single member of the main opposition party sitting on a departmental sub-committee with a total of just three opposition members. At today’s meeting of the full Committee, held in private, I put it to colleagues that expecting thorough and robust scrutiny of a Finance Bill by a maximum of three members of the opposition was unrealistic and the system needs to be corrected as soon as possible.
“The Chair acknowledged the points that I raised and suspended the meeting without any appointments being made to the three sub-committees.
“The party Whips are now being requested to seek Dáil approval to increase the membership of these sub-committees which will allow for a full and robust analysis of legislation at committee stage. If the Government is remotely serious about enhancing the role of Dáil Éireann, they will agree to this change and apply it to all other Oireachtas committees and sub-committees without delay,” concluded Deputy Fleming.