Fine Gael TD for Dublin North Alan Farrell has been appointed to the Select Committee on Investigations, Oversight and Petitions as part of the restructured government committee system, committed to restoring powers of investigation back to the government.
“I have been given an opportunity to shape the committee in advance of and following a referendum on the Abbeylara judgement, which proposes to amend the constitution to give Dáil committees full powers of investigation.
“The Investigations, Oversight and Petitions Committee has the potential to be of significant influence over political investigations and subsequent decisions made in the coming years. The Abbeylara Supreme Court decision currently limits the ability of Dáil committees to hold investigations into crucial issues of public concern, such as the banking crisis.
“The proposed referendum on the Abbeylara decision, if passed, will give the committees a quasi – judicial status, and abolish the need for expensive tribunals that have cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of euro over the past decade or more.
“Should this referendum be passed by the people, this committee structure will be provided with the powers to summon and cross-examine witnesses, bringing to account those who should answer to the State.
“The committees, which previously numbered 25 have been reduced to 15 as promised in the programme for government. The changes made by the Government in its first 100 days exhibit the Government’s strong commitment to political change, whilst providing real accountability and reducing costs.”