Oireachtas legal counsel should join court action to protect privilege – FF

Published on: 01 June 2015

Fianna Fáil is calling for legal counsel representing the Houses of the Oireachtas to join this week’s High Court action to reassert the Constitutional protection over the reporting of comments made by members of the Dáil and Seanad under privilege.

Senator Thomas Byrne has said: “We are in the midst of a major Constitutional crisis this week and it seems neither the Government nor the Houses of the Oireachtas are planning to have a voice in a legal action concerning the Constitutional protection afforded to members of Dáil and Seanad Éireann and the reporting of statements made under privilege.  The silence from the Government on this matter is very worrying.  Fianna Fáil is calling for legal counsel representing the Dáil and Seanad Committee on Procedure and Privilege (CPP) to join this week’s action in the High Court and to ensure the privilege bestowed on Oireachtas members is not abridged in anyway.

“We have had a grave development in the past week whereby a national broadcaster was unable to report on the utterances of a TD in the Dáil Chamber due to a court order.  This is a gross violation of the independence of Dáil Éireann and the right of its elected members to speak on matters of public importance.

“Fianna Fáil is extremely concerned that the Taoiseach, himself the longest serving member of the Dáil, has been silent on the profound seriousness of this attack on the Parliament and the people’s Constitution.  We will be raising this issue with the appropriate authorities in the Oireachtas and requesting that the Oireachtas is legally represented in this week’s court action.”

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