Workplace Relations Act 2015

17.

Accountability of Director General to committees of Houses of Oireachtas

17. (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—

(a) the Committee of Dáil Éireann established under the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann to examine and report to Dáil Éireann on the appropriation accounts and reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General,

(b) the Committee on Members’ Interests of Dáil Éireann or the Committee on Members’ Interests of Seanad Éireann, or

(c) a subcommittee of a committee referred to in paragraph (a) or (b).

(2) Subject to subsection (3), the Director General shall, at the request in writing of a Committee, attend before it to give account for the general administration of the Commission.

(3) The Director General shall not be required to give account before a Committee for any matter which is or has been or may at a future time be the subject of proceedings before a court or tribunal (including an adjudication officer and the Labour Court) in the State.

(4) Where the Director General 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 Director General is before it, the information shall be so conveyed in writing.

(5) Where the Director General 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 Director General may, not later than 42 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 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 Director General 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 that subsection (3) does not apply, the Director General shall attend before the Committee to give account for the matter.

(8) In the performance of his or her duties under this section, the Director General 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.