Official Languages Act 2003

Powers of Commissioner.


22. —(1)   (a) For the purpose of his or her functions under this Act the Commissioner may require any person who, in the opinion of the Commissioner, is in possession of information, or has a record or thing in his or her power or control, that is relevant to the purposes aforesaid to furnish to the Commissioner any such information, record or thing and, where appropriate, may require the person to attend before him or her for that purpose, and the person shall comply with the requirement.

(b) Paragraph (a) of this subsection does not apply to information or so much of a record as relates to decisions and proceedings of the Government or of any committee of the Government and for the purposes of this paragraph, a certificate given by the Secretary-General to the Government and certifying that any information or record or part of a record so relates shall be conclusive.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), no enactment or rule of law prohibiting or restricting the disclosure or communication of information shall preclude a person from furnishing to the Commissioner any such information or record, as aforesaid.

(3) Subject to the provisions of this Act, a person to whom a requirement is addressed under this section shall be entitled to the same immunities and privileges as if he or she were a witness before the High Court.

(4) A person who fails or refuses to comply with a requirement under this section or who hinders or obstructs the Commissioner in the performance of his or her functions under this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both.

(5) Where an offence under subsection (4) has been committed by a body corporate and is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to have been facilitated by any neglect on the part of any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of such body or of any person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, that officer or person, as well as such body, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished as if he or she were guilty of the first-mentioned offence.

(6) Proceedings for an offence under this section may be brought and prosecuted by the Commissioner.

(7) The Commissioner may, if he or she thinks fit, pay to any person who, for the purposes aforesaid, attends before the Commissioner or furnishes information or a record or other thing to him or her—

(a) sums in respect of travelling and subsistence expenses properly incurred by the person, and

(b) allowances by way of compensation for loss of his or her time,

of such amount as may be determined by the Minister.

(8) A statement or admission made by a person for the purposes aforesaid shall not be admissible as evidence against that person in any criminal proceedings.

(9) Nothing in this section shall confer any right to production of, or access to, any record or thing subject to legal privilege.