Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Act 2013

PART 10

Privilege in Relation to Private Papers and Confidential Communications

104.

Interpretation — Part 10.

104.— (1) In this Part—

“confidential communication”, in relation to a member, means a communication (not being a private paper), by any means (whether in writing or not), of information to and from the member, in the course of his or her capacity as a member, on an understanding (whether express or implied) that its source or content, or both, would be treated as confidential, and includes any document evidencing such a communication;

“member” means a member of a House, and includes a former member of the House in his or her capacity as a former member and, where the context so requires, a deceased member of the House;

“ministerial office” means office as Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Minister or Minister of State, and “Department or Office” shall be construed accordingly;

Part 10 committee”, in relation to a House, means the committee appointed by the House to perform the functions conferred on Part 10 committees by this Part;

“private paper”, in relation to a member, means whichever of the following as applies to the member (other than a paper that has already been lawfully put into the public domain):

( a) in relation to a member who is not a holder of ministerial office, any paper in the possession or control of the member in relation to his or her political (including party political) role or in his or her capacity as a member;

( b) in relation to a member who is the holder of ministerial office, any paper in the possession or control of the member in relation to his or her political (including party political) role or in his or her capacity as a member, but does not include any paper (whether or not held by his or her Department or Office, by the member, or by any special adviser in his or her Department or Office) which relates to the member’s own functions in relation to his or her ministerial office;

( c) in relation to a member who is the Attorney General, any paper in the possession or control of the member in relation to his or her political (including party political) role or in his or her capacity as a member, but does not include any paper (whether or not held by his or her Office, by the member, or by any special adviser) which relates to the member’s own functions in relation to the office of the Attorney General;

“special adviser” means special adviser within the meaning of section 11 of the Public Service Management Act 1997.

(2) Nothing in the Part shall be construed to prejudice the power of each House to make rules and standing orders pursuant to Article 15.10 of the Constitution to create a protection for private papers referred to in that Article (and irrespective of whether the definition of “private paper” provided for in such rules and standing orders overlaps, whether in whole or in part, with the definition of “private paper” in this Part).

(3) The assertion by a person of a privilege created by this Part in respect of a document shall not preclude the assertion by the person of any other privilege or protection in respect of the document.