Health Act 2007

42.

Accountability of chief inspector to Oireachtas Committees.

42.— (1) In this section “Committee” means a Committee appointed by either House of the Oireachtas or jointly by both Houses of the Oireachtas (other than the Committee referred to in section 24 or the Committee on Members’ Interests of Dáil Éireann or the Committee on Members’ Interests of Seanad Éireann) or a subcommittee of such a Committee.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), the chief inspector, at the request in writing of a Committee, shall attend before the Committee to give a general account of the activities of the Office of the Chief Inspector.

(3) The chief inspector shall not be required to give an account before a Committee of any matter which is or has been or may at a future time be the subject of proceedings before a court or tribunal in the State.

(4) Where the chief inspector is of the opinion that a matter in respect of which he or she is requested to give an account before a Committee is a matter to which subsection (3) applies, he or she shall inform the Committee of that opinion and the reasons for the opinion and, unless the information is conveyed to the Committee at a time when the chief inspector is before it, the information shall be so conveyed in writing.

(5) Where the chief inspector has informed a Committee of the chief inspector’s opinion in accordance with subsection (4) and the Committee does not withdraw the request referred to in subsection (2) in so far as it relates to a matter the subject of that opinion—

( a) the chief inspector, not later than 21 days after being informed by the Committee of its decision not to withdraw the request, may apply to the High Court in a summary manner for determination of the question whether the matter is one to which subsection (3) applies, or

( b) the chairperson of the Committee, on behalf of the Committee, may make such an application,

and the High Court shall determine the matter.

(6) Pending the determination of an application under subsection (5, the chief inspector shall not attend before the Committee to give an account of the matter to which the application relates.

(7) If the High Court determines that the matter concerned is one to which subsection (3) applies, the Committee shall withdraw the request referred to in subsection (2), but if the High Court determines that subsection (3) does not apply, the chief inspector shall attend before the Committee to give an account of the matter.

(8) In the performance of the chief inspector’s duties under this section, the chief inspector shall not question or express an opinion on the merits of any policy of the Government or a Minister of the Government or on the merits of the objectives of such a policy.