Tuesday 17 October 2017

Judges send a very clear message on protection of privilege for Oireachtas

The ruling also found the protection afforded to TDs and senators under Article 15.13 of the Constitution applied not just to what was said in the Dáil and Seanad, but also in Oireachtas committees. Photo: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg
The ruling also found the protection afforded to TDs and senators under Article 15.13 of the Constitution applied not just to what was said in the Dáil and Seanad, but also in Oireachtas committees. Photo: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

In its ruling on the Angela Kerins case, the High Court sent a very clear message that the courts cannot interfere when it comes to opinions expressed under parliamentary privilege.

It also found the protection afforded to TDs and senators under Article 15.13 of the Constitution applied not just to what was said in the Dáil and Seanad, but also in Oireachtas committees.

During the High Court's hearing of the action last year, Mr Justice Peter Kelly observed the Public Accounts Committee's defence was that "the most monstrous things" could be said which may be untrue or damaging to a person's reputation. But because of absolute privilege it was not a matter for the court to adjudicate on.

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