Railway Safety Act 2005

Tribunal of inquiry.

64

64.—(1) The Minister may, where he or she considers it necessary, with the consent of the Minister for Finance and after consultation with the Commission and the Investigation Unit, direct that a tribunal of inquiry be held into a railway F97 [ accident or ] incident.

(2) The following provisions shall have effect in relation to a tribunal—

( a) the Minister shall appoint a competent person or persons to hold the inquiry and may appoint any person or persons possessing legal, railway or special knowledge, including a commissioner or former commissioner F98 [ ] an inspector, to act as an assessor to assist the inquiry,

( b) where the tribunal relates to an international service, the Minister may appoint a person or persons nominated by the relevant competent authority in the other state, to act as an assessor to assist the inquiry,

( c) the tribunal shall hold the inquiry in such manner and under such conditions as it thinks appropriate,

( d) the tribunal shall have for the purposes of the inquiry all the powers of a judge of the District Court when hearing a prosecution for an offence under this Act, and all the powers of an inspector under this Act, and in addition, power—

(i) by summons signed by the tribunal, to require the attendance of such persons as it thinks fit to call before it and examine for the purposes of the inquiry, and to require answers or returns to the inquiries it thinks fit to make, and

(ii) to administer an oath or affirmation and require any person examined to make and sign a declaration of the truth of the statements made by the person in his or her examination.

(3) In subsection (2)(a), “competent person” includes a serving or former member of the judiciary or any other person whom the Minister considers has the necessary experience or expertise but does not include a serving commissioner, Chief Investigator, or member of the staff of the Commission or Investigation Unit, any person who is or was a member of the staff of a F99 [ railway organisation ] involved in the F97 [ accident or ] incident, or any person who, in the opinion of the Minister, has an actual or potential conflict of interest.

(4) If a person objects to a question asked of him or her as a witness at a tribunal on the grounds that the answer might tend to incriminate the person or make the person liable to a penalty and the person is informed of his or her obligation to answer the question, the person shall not refuse to answer the question but the answer given on that occasion shall not be admissible as evidence in criminal or other proceedings against the person other than proceedings against him or her in respect of the falsity of the answer or the failure to answer the question.

(5) Persons attending as witnesses before a tribunal shall be allowed such expenses as would be allowed to witnesses attending before a court of record and, in case of a dispute as to the amount to be allowed, the dispute shall be referred by the tribunal to the Taxing Master of the High Court who, on request signed by the tribunal, shall ascertain and certify the proper amount of the expenses.

(6) A tribunal shall make a report to the Minister recording all relevant findings of the tribunal, indicating the cause or causes or probable cause or causes of the railway F97 [ accident or ] incident and any recommendations which the tribunal considers to be warranted and feasible for the avoidance of incidents or otherwise for the improvement of railway safety and adding any observations which it thinks fit to make.

(7) The Minister shall publish the report of a tribunal under this section.

(8) The Minister shall pay to the person or persons conducting an inquiry under this section such fees and expenses as the Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, determine.

(9) The Minister shall, subject to the consent of the Minister for Finance, defray the other costs, if any, of an inquiry and report under this section.

(10) A tribunal may, at its discretion, decide whether or not to award costs in connection with an inquiry under this section and where it decides that costs shall be awarded, those costs may be awarded in such amounts and in respect of such matters as the tribunal, in its discretion, thinks fit.

(11) The Minister shall give notice of his or her intention to establish a tribunal of inquiry under this section by a notice published in Iris Oifigiúil and at least one daily newspaper published and circulating in the State, setting out the terms of reference of the inquiry.

(12) The Minister may, if he or she considers it necessary for the more effective conduct of inquiries, make regulations governing the holding of inquiries and without prejudice to the generality of this section, such regulations may provide for—

( a) the location at which an inquiry may be held,

( b) the manner in which facts may be proved at an inquiry, and

( c) the persons allowed to appear and the notices to be given to persons affected.

(13) A person who—

( a) without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with a summons of a tribunal,

( b) being in attendance as a witness at a tribunal, refuses—

(i) to take any oath or make an affirmation,

(ii) to sign any declaration as to the truth of any statement made by him or her, or

(iii) refuses to answer any question to which the tribunal may require an answer,

when required by the tribunal to do so,

or

( c) obstructs or hinders a tribunal,

is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €3,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months, or to both.

(14) In this section, “tribunal” means a tribunal of inquiry under this section.

Annotations:

Amendments:

F97

Inserted (1.07.2014) by European Union (Railway Safety) (Reporting and Investigation of Serious Accidents, Accidents and Incidents) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 258 of 2014), reg. 21(1)(e), in effect as per reg. 4(11) and notice in Iris Oifigiúil of 24 June 2014, p. 937.

F98

Deleted (1.07.2014) by European Union (Railway Safety) (Reporting and Investigation of Serious Accidents, Accidents and Incidents) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 258 of 2014), reg. 21(1)(d), in effect as per reg. 4(11) and notice in Iris Oifigiúil of 24 June 2014, p. 937.

F99

Substituted (25.11.2013) by European Union (Railway Safety) Regulations 2013 (S.I. No. 444 of 2013), reg. 20(1)(d).

Modifications (not altering text):

C20

References to “Investigation Unit” and “Chief Investigator” construed (1.07.2014) by European Union (Railway Safety) (Reporting and Investigation of Serious Accidents, Accidents and Incidents) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 258 of 2014), reg. 20(b) and (c), in effect as per reg. 4(11) and notice in Iris Oifigiúil of 24 June 2014, p. 937.

Application of Act of 2005

20. On and from the appointed day— ...

( b) reference to Investigation Unit in each place it occurs in sections 2, 64, 65, 66, 89 and 126 of the Act of 2005 and any reference in any enactment to the Railway Accident Investigation Unit established under section 55 of the Act of 2005 is to be read as a reference to the Investigation Unit established under Regulation 4,

( c) reference to Chief Investigator in each place it occurs in sections 64(3), 65 and 70 of the Act of 2005 is to be read as a reference to the Chief Investigator appointed under Regulation 4, and

...