Ethics in Public Office Act 1995

Establishment, membership and functions of Commission.

21

21. F55 [ (1) There is hereby established, in place of the Public Offices Commission, a commission (which shall be known as the Standards in Public Office Commission and is referred to in this Act as the Commission ).

(2) The Commission shall consist of 6 members, namely

( a ) a chairperson who shall be a judge, or a former judge, of the Supreme Court F56 [ , the Court of Appeal ] or the High Court, and

( b ) the following ordinary members

(i) the Comptroller and Auditor General,

(ii) the Ombudsman,

(iii) the Clerk of D á il É ireann,

(iv) the Clerk of Seanad É ireann, and

(v) a person who

(I) is appointed to be such a member by the Government following resolutions passed by each House approving the proposed appointment, and

(II) is a former member of one of the Houses and is not a representative in the European Parliament.

(2A) The appointment of a person to be the chairperson of the Commission shall be made by the President on the advice of the Government following resolutions passed by each House recommending the appointment.

(2B) A person appointed to be the chairperson of the Commission

( a ) may at his or her own request be relieved of office by the President, and

( b ) may be removed from office by the President but shall not be removed from office except for stated misbehaviour, incapacity or bankruptcy and then only following resolutions passed by each House calling for his or her removal.

(2C) Subject to the provisions of this section, a person appointed to be the chairperson of the Commission shall hold office for a term of 6 years and may be re-appointed to that office for a second or subsequent term.

(2D) The chairperson of the Commission (other than a chairperson who is the holder of a judicial office) shall be paid such remuneration (if any) as may be determined by the Minister.

(2E) ( a ) If the chairperson of the Commission notifies the Minister that he or she is for any reason temporarily unable to act as such chairperson, the Minister shall appoint such person, being a judge, or a former judge, of the Supreme Court F56 [ , the Court of Appeal ] or the High Court, as the Chief Justice may nominate for the purpose to act as such chairperson for the duration of such inability.

( b ) Upon the appointment of a person pursuant to paragraph ( a ) to be the chairperson of the Commission, the person who is temporarily unable to act as such chairperson shall be deemed for the duration of the inability not to be the chairperson and not to be a member of the Commission.

F57 [ (2F) If the person who is the chairperson of the Commission ceases (otherwise than by death or removal from office) during his or her term of office as such chairperson to be

(a) a judge of the High Court and is not a judge of the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal,

(b) a judge of the Court of Appeal and is not a judge of the Supreme Court, or

(c) a judge of the Supreme Court,

he or she shall continue to be such chairperson until the expiration of his or her term of office. ]

(2G) If, after the commencement of an investigation under section 23 and before compliance by the Commission with section 24 in relation to the investigation, a person who is an ordinary member of the Commission ceases (otherwise than by death or by removal from office) to hold the office by reference to which he or she was a member of the Commission, the person shall, subject to his or her consent, continue to be a member of the Commission for the purposes of the investigation until section 24 is complied with in relation to the investigation unless the Commission determines otherwise.

(2H) An ordinary member of the Commission appointed to be such member under subsection (2)( b )(v)

( a ) shall hold office for a term of 6 years and may be re-appointed to that office for a second or subsequent term,

( b ) shall cease to hold office if he or she

(i) is nominated as a member of Seanad É ireann,

(ii) is nominated for election as a member of either House or to be a representative in the European Parliament, or

(iii) is regarded pursuant to Part XIII of the Second Schedule to the European Parliament Elections Act, 1997 , as having been elected to that Parliament,

( c ) subject to the provisions of this subsection, shall hold office upon such terms and conditions (including terms and conditions relating to remuneration (if any) and allowances (if any) for expenses) as may be determined by the Minister,

( d ) may resign from office by notice in writing given to the Minister and the resignation shall take effect on the date on which the Minister receives the notice,

( e ) may be removed from office at any time by the Government but shall not be removed from office except for stated misbehaviour, incapacity or bankruptcy and then only following resolutions passed by each House calling for his or her removal.

(2I) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Act of 2001 or this Act, such functions of the Commission as it may determine may be performed in relation to such matter or matters as it may determine by the Commission consisting only of the chairperson of the Commission, and the Ethics in Public Office Acts, 1995 and 2001, and the Electoral Acts, 1992 to 2001, F58 [ and the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015, ] and any regulations made under section 72 of the Act of 1997 shall have effect accordingly in relation to any such determinations with any necessary modifications.

(2J) The Commission shall from time to time, but not less than twice each year, consult with the Committees in relation to the operation of this Act, the Act of 2001 and, in so far as it is relevant to the functions of the Commission and the Committees, the Electoral Act, 1997 , and in relation to such (if any) other matters as they consider appropriate. ]

(3) ( a) Subject to paragraph (b), where F59 [ an ordinary member of the Commission ] notifies the Minister that he or she is for any reason (other than the operation of subsection (4)) temporarily unable to act as such member or any of the offices aforesaid is vacant, the Minister shall appoint—

(i) in the case of the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Secretary and Director of Audit of the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General,

(ii) in the case of the Ombudsman, the Director of the Office of the Ombudsman,

(iii) F60 [ ]

(iv) in the case of the Clerk of Dáil Éireann, the Clerk Assistant of Dáil Éireann, and

(v) in the case of the Clerk of Seanad Éireann, the Clerk Assistant of Seanad Éireann,

to be F59 [ an ordinary member of the Commission ] for the duration of such inability or vacancy.

( b) If a person falling, pursuant to paragraph (a), to be appointed to be F59 [ an ordinary member of the Commission ] cannot be so appointed or the Commission consider that it would not be appropriate so to appoint that person, the Minister shall appoint such other person as the Commission may nominate for the purpose to be such a member for the duration of the inability or vacancy concerned.

( c) Upon the appointment of a person pursuant to paragraph (a) or (b) to be F59 [ an ordinary member of the Commission ] for the duration of an inability, the member of the Commission who is temporarily unable to act as such member shall be deemed for such duration not to be F59 [ an ordinary member of the Commission ].

( d) If F59 [ an ordinary member of the Commission ] ceases to hold the office by virtue of which he or she became F59 [ an ordinary member of the Commission ], he or she shall thereupon cease to be F59 [ an ordinary member of the Commission ].

(4) ( a) The Comptroller and Auditor General and the Secretary and Director of Audit of the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General shall not take part in any proceedings of the Commission relating to the Comptroller and Auditor General or a member of the staff of the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

( b) The Ombudsman and the Director of the Office of the Ombudsman shall not take part in any proceedings of the Commission relating to the Ombudsman or a member of the staff of the Office of the Ombudsman.

( c) F60 [ ] the Clerk of Dáil Éireann, the Clerk Assistant of Dáil Éireann, the Clerk of Seanad Éireann and the Clerk Assistant of Seanad Éireann shall not take part in any proceedings of the Commission relating to the Chairman or Deputy Chairman of either House or to a member of the staff of the Houses.

( d) Where F59 [ an ordinary member of the Commission ] is, by virtue of paragraph (a), (b) or (c) unable to take part in proceedings of the Commission, subsection (3) shall not apply in relation to such inability, and the Minister shall appoint such person as he or she may determine to be F59 [ an ordinary member of the Commission ] for the purpose of taking part in those proceedings but for no other purpose and the first-mentioned member shall be deemed, in relation to those proceedings, not to be F59 [ an ordinary member of the Commission ].

(5) The quorum for a meeting of the Commission shall be three or such other number (being not less than three) as may be determined from time to time by the Commission.

(6) F60 [ ]

(7) At a meeting of the Commission—

( a) the chairman of the Commission shall, if present, be chairman of the meeting,

( b) if and for so long as the chairman of the Commission is not present or if the office of chairman is vacant, the members of the Commission who are present shall choose one of their number to be chairman of the meeting.

(8) A decision at a meeting of the Commission (other than a meeting held for the purposes of an investigation under section 23 ) may be that of a majority of the members present and voting on the question and, in the case of an equal division of votes, the chairman of the meeting shall have a second or casting vote.

(9) The Commission may act (otherwise than in relation to an investigation under section 23 ) notwithstanding one or more vacancies among its members.

(10) Such functions of the Commission (other than functions under section 23 ) as may be specified by it may be performed, under the supervision and subject to the general direction of the Commission, by members of the staff of the Commission duly authorised in that behalf by the Commission.

(11) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Commission shall determine, by standing orders or otherwise, the procedure and business of the Commission.

(12) The Minister shall make available to the Commission such reasonable facilities and services (including clerical, secretarial and executive services) as the Minister, after consultation with the Commission, may determine.

(13) Subject to such conditions as the Minister may determine, there shall be paid to the Commission out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas such amounts as the Minister may, after consultation with the Commission, determine in respect of the reasonable expenses of the Commission and its members.

Annotations:

Amendments:

F55

Substituted (10.12.2001) by Standards in Public Office Act 2001 (31/2001), s. 2, S.I. No. 576 of 2001 and resolutions of both Houses of the Oireachtas. Resolution of Dáil Éireann: Debates Volume 546, 6 December 2001. Resolution of Seanad Éireann: Debates Volume 168, 28 November 2001, subject to transitional provision in s. 14.

F56

Inserted (28.10.2014) by Court of Appeal Act 2014 (18/2014), s. 52(a) and (b), S.I. No. 479 of 2014.

F57

Substituted (28.10.2014) by Court of Appeal Act 2014 (18/2014), s. 52(c), S.I. No. 479 of 2014.

F58

Inserted (1.09.2015) by Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 (5/2015), s. 27(a), S.I. No. 152 of 2015.

F59

Substituted (10.12.2001) by Standards in Public Office Act 2001 (31/2001), s. 13(1) and sch.1, S.I. No. 576 of 2001 and resolutions of both Houses of the Oireachtas. Resolution of Dáil Éireann: Debates Volume 546, 6 December 2001. Resolution of Seanad Éireann: Debates Volume 168, 28 November 2001, subject to transitional provision in s. 14.

F60

Repealed (10.12.2001) by Standards in Public Office Act 2001 (31/2001), s. 28 and sch. 2, subject to transitional provision in subs. (2), S.I. No. 576 of 2001 and resolutions of both Houses of the Oireachtas. Resolution of Dáil Éireann: Debates Volume 546, 6 December 2001. Resolution of Seanad Éireann: Debates Volume 168, 28 November 2001, subject to transitional provision in s. 14.

Modifications (not altering text):

C13

Terms construed (10.12.2001) by Standards in Public Office Act 2001 (31/2001) s. 15, S.I. No. 576 of 2001 and resolutions of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

Adaptation of references in Principal Act and Act of 1997.

15.—(1) In the Principal Act, the Act of 1997 and every other Act of the Oireachtas and every instrument made under any of the Acts aforesaid—

( a) references to the Public Offices Commission shall be construed as references to the Commission, and

( b) references to the chairman of the Public Offices Commission shall be construed as references to the chairperson of the Commission.

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