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


Determining what constitutes private paper or confidential communication.

107.— (1) A member who has in his or her possession or control a document may at any time apply to the Part 10 committee for a determination as to whether the document is a private paper or confidential communication.

(2) The Part 10 committee may, for the purposes of making a determination under subsection (1) as to whether or not a document referred to in that subsection is a private paper or confidential communication—

( a) exercise the powers conferred on a committee that has, under the rules and standing orders of the House, been conferred with the right to send for persons, papers and records, or

( b) if, following a preliminary consideration of the matter, the committee considers it unnecessary in the circumstances to exercise such powers—

(i) examine any relevant document (including a report prepared under subparagraph (iii)),

(ii) consider a statement in writing by the member concerned and any other person in relation to the circumstances giving rise to the document or otherwise in relation to the grounds for a claim (if any) that the document is a private paper or confidential communication, and

(iii) appoint a person that the committee is satisfied has suitable qualifications, and possesses the level of experience, and independence from any interest falling to be determined between the parties concerned, for the purposes of—

(I) examining the information, and

(II) preparing a report for the committee with a view to assisting or facilitating the committee in making the determination.

(3) The Part 10 committee shall take all necessary steps to safeguard the confidentiality of the document concerned and preserve the confidentiality of its proceedings under this section.

(4) A determination of the Part 10 committee under this section may only be reviewed by way of judicial review, on application made to the Court within 14 days after the date of the determination being made known to the party aggrieved by the determination.