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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019
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Size matters for Oireachtas, as more members squeeze into fewer committees

The number of committees will be slimmed down from 27 to 14, as details of the new Oireachtas committees are confirmed.

Some of the Oireachtas committee rooms could be particularly crowded with fewer, larger committees.
Some of the Oireachtas committee rooms could be particularly crowded with fewer, larger committees.
Image: Houses of the Oireachtas

THE TOTAL NUMBER of Oireachtas committees has been almost halved by the Dáil, which this morning approved moves to cut the number of committees from 27 to 15.

The halving of the number of committees means that the size of each committee will increase dramatically, with some committees now having up to 21 TDs – and further Senators – in attempts to make sure that all members of the Oireachtas have some committee representation.

The reduction in the numbers also means that committees – which previously were assigned on a one-to-one basis to monitor the work of government departments – will now have to account for the work of as many as three departments.

In one case – the Committee on Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht - 21 member TDs, and some other Senators, will supervise the work of three ministers and five junior ministers.

The chairmanships of the various committees will be decided at their first meetings, but it is customary that the main opposition party, currently Fianna Fáil, is given the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee.

Fianna Fáil has already indicated that it will nominate Kilkenny TD John McGuinness for that role – though the makeup of the group could see Sinn Féin side with the technical group, in which case Shane Ross could possibly take the position.

A new committee – on Investigations, Oversights and Petitions – is also to be led by the opposition, most likely Sinn Féin deputy for Meath West, Peadar Toibín.

Government chief whip Paul Kehoe described the new committee system as the “first step in the Government’s plan for radical Oireachtas reform.

“The new Committees will be stronger and will bring real focus to the areas they cover. They will be properly resourced to carry out their function.”

Confirming the establishment of the committees yesterday, the Dáil also passes amendments to its governing Standing Orders which will formally give committees the power to “send for persons, papers and records” as needed.

An Oireachtas spokesman this morning confirmed that legislation exists to allow committees go to court in order to compel people to attend their meetings.

Details of the new Oireachtas committees in full:

Committee on Public Accounts

  • Paul Connaughton (FG)
  • John Deasy (FG)
  • Paschal Donohoe (FG)
  • Anne Ferris (Lab)
  • Simon Harris (FG)
  • Michael McCarthy (Lab)
  • Mary Lou McDonald (SF)
  • Michael McGrath (FF)
  • John McGuinness (FF)
  • Eoghan Murphy (FG)
  • Derek Nolan (Lab)
  • Kieran O’Donnell (FG)
  • Shane Ross (Ind)

Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture

  • Tom Barry (FG)
  • Michael Colreavy (SF)
  • Pat Deering (FG)
  • Robert Dowds (Lab)
  • Andrew Doyle (FG)
  • Martin Ferris (SF)
  • Noel Harrington (FG)
  • Martin Heydon (FG)
  • Colm Keaveney (Lab)
  • Mattie McGrath (Ind)
  • Michael McNamara (Lab)
  • Michael Moynihan (FF)
  • Éamon Ó Cuív (FF)
  • John O’Mahony (FG)
  • Thomas Pringle (Ind)
Committee on Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht
  • James Bannon (FG)
  • Paudie Coffey (FG)
  • Niall Collins (FF)
  • Noel Coonan (FG)
  • Marcella Corcoran Kennedy (FG)
  • Clare Daly (SP/ULA)
  • Timmy Dooley (FF)
  • Dessie Ellis (SF)
  • Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (New Vision)
  • Terence Flanagan (FG)
  • Kevin Humphreys (Lab)
  • Seán Kenny (Lab)
  • Ciarán Lynch (Lab)
  • Sandra McLellan (SF)
  • Tony McLoughlin (FG)
  • Catherine Murphy (Ind)
  • Gerald Nash (Lab)
  • Patrick O’Donovan (FG)
  • Brian Stanley (SF)
  • Robert Troy (FF)
  • Brian Walsh (FG)

Committee on European Union Affairs:

  • Joe Costello (Lab)
  • Paschal Donohoe (FG)
  • Timmy Dooley (FF)
  • Bernard J Durkan (FG)
  • Colm Keaveney (Lab)
  • Seán Kyne (FG)
  • Pádraig Mac Lochlainn (SF)
  • Joe O’Reilly (FG)
  • Mick Wallace (Ind)

Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform:

  • Richard Boyd-Barrett (PBP/ULA)
  • Thomas P Broughan (Lab)
  • Michael Creed (FG)
  • Jim Daly (FG)
  • Pearse Doherty (SF)
  • Stephen Donnelly (Ind)
  • Sean Fleming (FF)
  • Joe Higgins (SP/ULA)
  • Heather Humphreys (FG)
  • Kevin Humphreys (Lab)
  • Peter Mathews (FG)
  • Mary Lou McDonald (SF)
  • Michael McGrath (FF)
  • Olivia Mitchell (FG)
  • Seán Ó Fearghaíl (FF)
  • Jonathan O’Brien (SF)
  • Kieran O’Donnell (FG)
  • Arthur Spring (Lab)
  • Billy Timmins (FG)
  • Liam Twomey (FG)
  • Alex White (Lab)

Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade:

  • Pat Breen (FG)
  • Eric Byrne (Lab)
  • Bernard J Durkan (FG)
  • Pádraig Mac Lochlainn (SF)
  • Michael McNamara (Lab)
  • Dara Murphy (FG)
  • Dan Neville (FG)
  • Seán Ó Fearghaíl (FF)
  • Maureen O’Sullivan (Ind)

Committee on Health and Children:

  • Jerry Buttimer (FG)
  • Catherine Byrne (FG)
  • Michael Colreavy (SF)
  • Ciara Conway (Lab)
  • Regina Doherty (FG)
  • Robert Dowds (Lab)
  • Peter Fitzpatrick (FG)
  • Seamus Healy (WUAG/ULA)
  • Derek Keating (FG)
  • Billy Kelleher (FF)
  • Eamonn Maloney (Lab)
  • Charlie McConalogue (FF)
  • Mattie McGrath (Ind)
  • Denis Naughten (FG)
  • Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin (SF)

Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement:

  • Seán Conlan (FG)
  • Seán Crowe (SF)
  • Clare Daly (SP/ULA)
  • Regina Doherty (FG)
  • Alan Farrell (FG)
  • Frank Feighan (FG)
  • Martin Ferris (SF)
  • Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (NV)
  • Dominic Hannigan (Lab)
  • Michael P Kitt (FF)
  • Joe McHugh (FG)
  • Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (Lab)
  • Joe O’Reilly (FG)
  • Brendan Smith (FF)
  • Joanna Tuffy (Lab)

Committee on Investigations, Oversight and Petitions:

  • Dara Calleary (FF)
  • Joan Collins (PBP/ULA)
  • Michael Conaghan (Lab)
  • Alan Farrell (FG)
  • Charles Flanagan (FG)
  • Michael Healy-Rae (Ind)
  • Peter Mathews (FG)
  • Michael McCarthy (Lab)
  • Charlie McConalogue (FF)
  • Michelle Mulherin (FG)
  • Derek Nolan (Lab)
  • Aengus Ó Snodaigh (SF)
  • John Paul Phelan (FG)
  • Peadar Tóibín (SF)
  • Mick Wallace (Ind)

Committee on Jobs, Social Protection and Education:

  • Ray Butler (FG)
  • Áine Collins (FG)
  • Joan Collins (PBP/ULA)
  • Michael Conaghan (Lab)
  • Barry Cowen (FF)
  • Seán Crowe (SF)
  • Damien English (FG)
  • Tom Fleming (FF)
  • Brendan Griffin (FG)
  • John Halligan (Ind)
  • Seán Kyne (FG)
  • Anthony Lawlor (FG)
  • John Lyons (Lab)
  • Nicky McFadden (FG)
  • Mary Mitchell O’Connor (FG)
  • Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (Lab)
  • Aengus Ó Snodaigh (SF)
  • Willie O’Dea (FF)
  • Brendan Ryan (Lab)
  • Brendan Smith (FF)
  • Peadar Tóibín (SF)

Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality:

  • Dara Calleary (FF)
  • Michael Creed (FG)
  • Tom Hayes (FG)
  • Seán Kenny (FG)
  • Finian McGrath (Ind)
  • Jonathan O’Brien (SF)
  • David Stanton (FG)
  • Billy Timmins (FF)
  • Joanna Tuffy (Lab)

Committee on Members’ Interests of Dáil Éireann:

  • John Browne (FF)
  • Olivia Mitchell (FG)
  • Thomas Pringle (Ind)
  • David Stanton (FG)
  • Jack Wall (Lab)

Committee on Procedure and Privileges:

  • Joe Carey (FG)
  • Martin Heydon (FG)
  • Paul Kehoe (FG)
  • John Lyons (Lab)
  • Nicky McFadden (FG)
  • Catherine Murphy (Ind)
  • Seán Ó Fearghaíl (FF)
  • Aengus Ó Snodaigh (SF)
  • Emmet Stagg (Lab)

Joint Administration Committee

  • John Browne (FF)
  • Jerry Buttimer (FG)
  • Eric Byrne (Lab)
  • Áine Collins (FG)
  • Andrew Doyle (FG)
  • Dessie Ellis (SF)
  • Tom Fleming (FF)
  • Tom Hayes (FG)
  • Heather Humphreys (FG)
  • Paul Kehoe (FG)
  • Seamus Kirk (FF)
  • John Lyons (Lab)
  • Anne Phelan (Lab)
  • John Paul Phelan (FG)
  • Brian Stanley (SF)
  • Jack Wall (Lab)

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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