Transport Minister gives his backing to the members of the Dáil’s CPP facing legal action from businessman Denis O’Brien
TRANSPORT Minister Paschal Donohoe has given his full backing to the members of the Dáil’s Committee on Procedures and Privilege (CPP) facing legal action from billionaire businessman Denis O’Brien.
Mr Donohoe said he “fully respects” the work of the CPP and insisted Dáil privilege is a “absolute cornerstone of our democracy”.
The minister said all members of the CPP and Independent TD Catherine Murphy, who Mr O’Brien claims breached Dáil privilege, have his support.
“The privileges that are available to the members of the Oireachtas are an absolute cornerstone of our democracy,” he said.
“Public representatives when they are elected to the Oireachtas have abilities that are available to them in terms of speaking about things that matter to our country,” he added.
“Alongside that they have responsibilities and they have to talk about particular matters in particular ways. That’s why we have the Committee on Procedures and Privileges, uniquely it has the ability to look at these matters and make an adjudication in relation to how those responsibilities are exercises.”
Asked if Taoiseach Enda Kenny should comment on Mr O’Brien’s legal action, the minister said: “The Taoiseach has been very clear that he supports the work of the Oireachtas and the rights of the members of the Oireachtas to exercise (those rights) in the way the Constitution allows the freedoms that are open to them.”
Renua Leader Lucinda Creighton said Mr O’Brien’s decision to take legal action against the CPP was “unfortunate” and said she would be "shocked" if the High Court ruled in his favour.
She also called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton to publicly tell Mr O’Brien to “back off”.
“The idea that any type of chill factor could be imposed on our national parliament is frankly completely unacceptable to me and Renua Ireland,” Ms Creighton said.
“I would call on the main protagonists in the house – the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, leaders of all political parties – to come together and call on him to back off,” she added.
Mr O’Brien is taking a High Court action against the CPP over its decision to overturn a complaint he made against Independent TD Catherine Murphy.
The telecoms tycoon alleged Ms Murphy abused Dáil privilege by detailing his business affairs with IBRC during a debate in the lower chamber.
The CPP unanimously found Ms Murphy did not break any of the rules of the Oireachtas.