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Ceann Comhairle apologises to Angela Kerins over PAC treatment

In March the Supreme Court ruled the PAC acted unlawfully in its questioning of the former Rehab CEO.

Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

CEANN COMHAIRLE SEÁN Ó Fearghaíl has apologised to Angela Kerins over her treatment by members of the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Speaking to Sharon Ni Bheoláin on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics programme, Ó Fearghaíl said the recent Supreme Court judgement in relation to the questioning of the former Rehab CEO was “a watershed” moment for the Dáil.

In March the Supreme Court ruled the PAC acted unlawfully in its questioning.

“There has been much commentary outside about the chilling impact the Kerins judgement might have on the Oireachtas,” said Ó Fearghaíl.

The only thing I feel is chilling is the Supreme Court found that a committee in the last Dáil had effectively broken the law, had trampled on the rights of Ms Kerins, and that to me is chilling and I would personally apologise to Ms Kerins for the fact that happened.

He said there is a determination to ensure that this type of situation will not happen again.

The Ceann Comhairle said there has to be an agreed protocol around how to deal with witnesses so that committees are “robustly questioning” them, but respecting them at the same time. 

He also said the Dáil will be looking at streamlining how committees function to avoid “excessive duplication”.

“The idea of witnesses coming before two or three committees is patently ridiculous.”

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