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How does the new public petitions system work?

The new system will allow citizens to get their issues “into the centre of parliament” – here’s more on how it works.

Leinster House
Leinster House
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

A NEW PUBLIC petitions system for the Oireachtas is to be launched today – and now a video has been released to explain more about what it involves.

The system will allow members of the public to take their concerns about policy to the Oireachtas Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions.

Peadar Tóibín TD explains more about the public petitions system in the video. He describes the move as a “major new innovation in parliamentary democracy in Ireland”, and says that it is the

“first time in the 93-year history of the Oireachtas” that citizens will get an opportunity to get their issues into the centre of parliament in Ireland without it being filtered by politicians.

What it involves

The petitions system is for people who are having difficulty with public service provision:

  • You can fill out petition online or in hard copy
  • Submit it to the Oireachtas
  • Most petitions will be admissible, but there are some terms and conditions
  • If the petition is admissible, it will be considered by the Oireachtas committee

What can the Oireachtas do?

  • It can invite in the petitioner to give evidence on the petition
  • If necessary it can invite in all the other relevant parties to seek evidence
  • It can hold an investigation on that issue
  • If necessary it can see that the issue is publicly debated
  • It has the power to call in civil servants, ministers, and organisations to give accounts over how public service is being delivered

Tóibín described it as a “very powerful committee” and said that “for the first time it will allow these issues of public service delivery to be seen through the lens of the citizens themselves”.


(oireachtasfilm/YouTube)

Read: Petitions system to allow public to ‘set parliamentary agenda’>

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