National Shared Services Office Act 2017
Accountability of chief executive to Oireachtas Committees
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 the Committee on Members’ Interests of Dáil Éireann or the Committee on Members’ Interests of Seanad Éireann) or a sub-Committee of such a Committee.
(2) Subject to subsection (3), the chief executive shall, at the request in writing of a Committee, attend before it to give account for the general administration of the Office.
(3) The chief executive shall not be required to give account before a Committee for any matter that is or has been or may at a future time be the subject of proceedings before a court or tribunal in the State.
(4) Where the chief executive 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 chief executive is before it, the information shall be so conveyed in writing.
(5) Where the chief executive 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 chief executive may, not later than 21 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 chief executive 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 chief executive shall attend before the Committee to give account for the matter.
(8) In the performance of his or her duties under this section, the chief executive 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.
(9) The chief executive shall be an accounting officer for the purposes of section 19 of the Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Act 1993.