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Why do Oireachtas Committees Sit in Private?

Posted on: February 9th, 2005

Speaking in the Seanad I questioned why all Oireachtas committees are sitting in private. Here’s how the Leas-Chathaoirleach responded:

Mr Ross: Several committees of the Houses sit this week. Of these, the Committees on Procedure and Privileges, Agriculture and Food and Broadcasting and Parliamentary Information will sit in private. I do not understand why any committee must sit in private

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Senator Ross, the Committee on Procedure and Privileges always sits in private.

Mr. Ross: I am asking why.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: That has always been the case.

Mr. Ross: That is not a good reason.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: There is no provision in Standing Orders to allow visitors to attend the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.

Mr. Ross: I am well aware of that.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:
The Senator can propose changes to the Standing Order but there is a procedure to go through.

Mr. Ross: I am aware of all that but why must these committees sit in private?… What secrets are behind these closed doors that the public must not know about? We are entitled to an answer.