Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992
105.—(1) (a) The Agency may, where after consultation with the Minister it considers it necessary to do so, arrange for an inquiry to be held into any incident of environmental pollution or any other matter related to environmental protection.
(b) The Minister may direct the Agency to arrange for an inquiry to be held into any specified incident of environmental pollution or any other matter related to environmental protection and the Agency shall comply with any such direction.
(2) The inquiry shall be conducted by a person appointed in that behalf by the Agency in such manner as the person thinks appropriate.
(3) The person conducting the inquiry may, for the purposes of the inquiry—
(a) investigate the circumstances in which the incident of environmental pollution or any other matter related to environmental protection occurred,
(b) enter (on production of the confirmation of his appointment if so demanded by the occupier or person in charge of the premises) at any reasonable time any premises, entry to which appears requisite for the said purposes,
(c) carry out such inspection and examination and do such things and make such enquiries as appear to him to be reasonably necessary for the said purposes and, in particular—
(i) require, by summons, any person to attend as a witness to give evidence,
(ii) require any person to produce such books, papers, other documents and any articles (being in that person's custody or under his control) which the person conducting the inquiry may consider relevant and retain such books, papers, documents and articles for such time as he may reasonably require them,
(iii) administer or cause to be administered an oath and take evidence under oath.
(4) If a person—
(a) on being duly summoned as a witness before an inquiry without just cause or excuse disobeys the summons,
(b) being in attendance as a witness refuses to take an oath or to make an affirmation when legally required by the person conducting the inquiry to do so, or to produce any documents or articles in his custody or control legally required by the person conducting the inquiry to be produced by him, or to answer any question to which the person conducting the inquiry may legally require an answer,
(c) wilfully gives evidence which is material to the inquiry and which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true,
(d) by act or omission, obstructs or hinders the person conducting the inquiry in the performance of his functions,
(e) fails, neglects or refuses to comply with any requirement provided for under subsection (3) (c) (ii), or
(f) does or omits to do any other thing and if such doing or omission would, if the inquiry had been the High Court, have been contempt of that Court,
the person shall be guilty of an offence.
(5) A statement or admission made by a person before a person conducting an inquiry under this section shall not be admissible in evidence against that person in any criminal proceedings other than proceedings in relation to an offence under subsection (4).
(6) Persons attending as witnesses at the inquiry shall be allowed such expenses to be paid out of moneys available to the Agency as would be allowed to witnesses attending before a court of record and, in case of dispute as to the amount to be allowed, the dispute shall be referred by the person conducting the inquiry to a taxing master of the High Court, who, on request signed by the person conducting the inquiry, shall ascertain and certify the proper amount of the expenses.
(7) The person conducting the inquiry shall make a report to the Agency stating the causes and circumstances of the subject of the inquiry and may add any observations which he thinks right to make.
(8) The Agency may cause the report of a person who conducted an inquiry under this section to be made public at such time and in such manner as it thinks fit.
(9) The Agency may require that all or part of the expenses incurred by the Agency in relation to an inquiry under this section shall be paid in whole or in part by any person who appears to the Agency to be, by reason of any act or default on the part of such person or on the part of any servant or agent of his, responsible in any degree for the subject of the inquiry.
(10) The Agency shall give notice of an inquiry under this section by a notice published in Iris Oifigiúil and in at least one daily newspaper circulating in the State setting out the terms of reference of the inquiry.
(11) The Minister may make regulations for the purposes of this section.