Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012

19.

Accountability of chief executive to other Oireachtas Committees.

19.— (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 18 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 executive shall, at the request in writing of a Committee, attend before it to give account for the general administration of the Authority.

(3) The chief executive shall not be required to give account before a Committee for any matter which is or has been or may be the subject of proceedings before a court or Tribunal in the State.

(4) Where the chief executive is of the opinion that a matter in respect of which he or she is requested to give 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 chief executive does so at a time when he or she is before the Committee, he or she shall do so in writing.

(5) Where the chief executive has informed a Committee of his or her 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 executive may, not later than 21 days after being informed by the Committee of its decision not to do so, apply to the High Court in a summary manner for determination of the question of whether the matter is one to which subsection (3) applies, or

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

and the High Court shall determine the matter.

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

(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 subsection (3) does not apply, the chief executive shall attend before the Committee to give account for the matter.

(8) In the performance of his or her duties under this section, the chief executive shall not question or express an opinion on—

(a) the merits of any policy of the Government or a Minister of the Government, or

(b) the merits of the objectives of such a policy.