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Should we abolish TDs' immunity from arrest (if coming to/from Dail)?

category national | crime and justice | opinion/analysis author Tuesday May 28, 2013 17:48author by Congalltee Report this post to the editors

immunity of politicians to arrest while in the dail

Should we abolish TDs' immunity from arrest (if coming to/from Dail)?

Article 15.13
"The members of each House of the Oireachtas shall, except in case of treason as defined in this Constitution, felony or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest in going to and returning from, and while within the precincts of, either House, and shall not, in respect of any utterance in either House, be amenable to any court or any authority other than the House itself."

This was a measure which was highly relevant in the context of the 1930's (dictatorships replacing democracies, Ireland's scrape with fascism led by the former Garda commissioner/leader of the Blueshirts). It is a bit like the clause about judge's pay being upward only - of it's time.

Should it be repealed in an era of the Garda ombudsman, press oversight, civil courts providing damages for false imprisonment?

Should it only apply to TDs going to the Dail for votes? (Senators not being as critical and TDs leaving the house are at less risk of unlawful interference by the Gardai - if such a risk actually exists).

How has the abolition of felonies and misdeamours affected the section?

For those who check their law books, the immunity is only from arrest and a summons could be sent after the incident eg if on a mobile, or not waiting to be waved on. Nor does it apply exclusively to driving?

Or, should political accountability be employed for those who abuse it? (Eg non-arrestable offence, not waiting to be waved on, abusing the gardai, covering up an offence)?

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/varadkar-in-bid-to....html

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/the-politicians-wh....html

http://www.thejournal.ie/parliamentary-privilege/news/

http://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/ryle-dw....html

author by davepublication date Tue May 28, 2013 17:56Report this post to the editors

I didn't realise a TD was granted immunity from arrest,that is news to me.

I would like to see this abolished without a doubt.

This country has more inequalities than i previously thought.

But the problem is i don't see TD's passing laws to make it so.

Without some form of political will that comes from dail eireann itself,i don't see this being abolished.

We dont live in a democracy,it is an illusion. The political power is in the hands of the privledged few in the dail - it is certainly not in our hands anymore.

 
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