O'Malley v Ceann Comhairle & Min Enterprise

CourtSupreme Court
Docket Number(311/95), [S.C. No. 311 of 1995]
JudgeO'Flaherty J.
Judgment Date14 Mar 1997
JurisdictionIreland
Neutral Citation1997 WJSC-SC 3508

1997 WJSC-SC 3508

THE SUPREME COURT

O'Flaherty J.,

Murphy J.,

Lynch J.,

(311/95)
O'MALLEY v. CEANN COMHAIRLE & MIN ENTERPRISE
AN CH ÚIRT UACHTARACH

BETWEEN:

PAT O'MALLEY
Applicant/Appellant
.V.
THE CEANN COMHAIRLE, THE MINISTER FOR ENTERPRISE AND EMPLOYMENT, THE OIREACHTAS, IRELAND AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Respondents

Citations:

CONSTITUTION ART 15.10

STANDING ORDERS OF DAIL EIREANN ORDER 33

REPORT OF THE TRIBUNAL OF INQUIRY INTO THE BEEF PROCESSING INDUSTRY

BYRNE V IRELAND 1972 IR 241

CROTTY V AN TAOISEACH 1987 IR 713

HAUGHEY, IN RE 1971 IR 217

CONSTITUTION ART 15.7

CONSTITUTION ART 16.4.2

Synopsis:

Administrative Law

Appeal; leave to seek judicial review refused; decision of An Ceann Comhairle disallowing full Dail question by applicant; Article 15.10 of Constitution; whether decision of An Ceann Comhairle amenable to judicial review proceedings; internal workings of Dail Held: Appeal dismissed; inappropriate for court to intervene with internal workings of Dail Supreme Court: O'Flaherty J., Murphy J., Lynch J. 14/03/1997

O'Malley v. An Ceann Comhairle & Ors.

[1997] 1 IR 427

1

Judgment of the Court delivered on the 14th day of March, 1997, by O'Flaherty J. [NEM DISS]

2

This is an appeal from the judgment and order of the High Court (Barron J.) of the 28th July, 1995, refusing the applicant liberty to seek judicial review of a decision of the Ceann Comhairle to disallow a full Dáil question asked by the applicant to be answered on the 24th May, 1989, by the Minister for Enterprise and Employment (otherwise the Minister for Industry and Commerce)

3

Mr. O'Malley was a member of Dáil Éireann from March, 1987 to May, 1989. He became interested in the beef-processing industry and, in particular, the dominant position that he considered was held by the Goodman group of companies in that sector. That lead him to direct a number of questions to the Minister. The applicant felt that he was not getting a full explanation on the points he had raised for the Minister and so he tabled a question (No.61) to the Minister which was scheduled for reply on the 24th May, 1989.

4

The Ceann Comhairle wrote to Mr. O'Malley on the 23rd May, 1989, stating that he was disallowing part of the question because it would involve repetition in view of the replies to previous questions in the previous month.

5

The question, as originally phrased, was to ask the Minister:-

"If he has received any information which would explain the major discrepancy between the beef export figures to Iraq for the two years 1987 and 1988 and the export-credit insurance provided for these exports in the same period; if he will outline the investigations he is at present pursuing; when he expects these investigations to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter ..."

6

It was amended to read:-

"To ask the Minister for Industry and Commerce when he expects the investigations into the major discrepancy between the beef export figures to Iraq for the two years 1987 and 1988 and the export credit insurance provided for these exports in the same period will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter."

7

Mr. O'Malley avers that the said amended version of his Dáil question was printed on the Dáil order paper on or about the 24th May and in his response to the amended version of the question the Minister stated that he was not in a position to reply to the question.

8

Article 15.10 of the Constitution provides:-

"Each House [of the Oireachtas] shall make its own rules and Standing Orders, with power to attach penalties for their infringement, and shall have power to ensure freedom of debate, to protect its official documents and the private papers of its members, and to protect itself and its members against any person or persons interfering with, molesting or attempting to corrupt its members in the exercise of their duties."

9

Order 33 of the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann provides that:-

"The Ceann Comhairle shall examine every question in order to ensure that its...

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