Sunday 21 July 2019

Former Fine Gael strategist Frank Flannery rules out taking legal action against Dail committee

Frank Flannery
Frank Flannery

Daniel McConnell Group Political Correspondent

Former Fine Gael strategist and Rehab director Frank Flannery has ruled out taking legal action against the Dail’s Spending Watchdog.

Mr Flannery was critical of the way he was treated by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) during its investigation into the Rehab Group last year.

He said he found out that the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) have no authority in examining the PAC’s activities.

"My intention was that I would try and get the Dáíl processes to try and deal with problem and I still hope that that might happen. I don't intend to take legal action," he said.

Mr Flannery also said that absolute parliamentary privilege could be used to "trample" on the rights of citizens.

He was speaking on RTE Radio.

He said Denis O'Brien's decision to sue members of the Dáil's Committee on Procedures and Privileges (CPP) raised "legitimate issues".

Mr Flannery said he did not want to see parliamentary privilege curtailed but argued that it should be subject to tighter regulation within the Dáil.

Communications Minister Alex White said he felt that those TDs found to have abused their Dail privilege should face tougher sanctions.

He said that in his personal view such sanctions should include a TDs pay. But he ultimately said it is a matter for the CPP as the oversight body in the Oireachtas to decide on exactly what sanctions should apply.

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