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ETHICS IN PUBLIC OFFICE ACT, 1995
Statements of members' registrable interests for Clerks.
5. —(1) Subject to subsection (3), a person who is a member on a registration date shall, not later than 30 days after that date, prepare and furnish to the Clerk a statement in writing, in such form as may be determined by the Clerk after consultation with the Committee and the Commission or in a form to the like effect, of his or her registrable interests and containing appropriate information in relation to such matters (if any) respecting those interests as may be specified in the first-mentioned form, being registrable interests of the member—
(a) if the person is a member on the first registration date, at any time during the period from the passing of this Act to that date, and
(b) if the person is a member on a subsequent registration date, at any time when he or she was a member during the period between that registration date and the last previous registration date.
(2) Where a person who is a member on a registration date did not have a registrable interest at any time during the appropriate period specified in subsection (1), he or she shall, not later than 30 days after that date, prepare and furnish to the Clerk a statement in writing of that fact.
(3) It shall not be necessary to specify in a statement under this section the amount or monetary value of any interest or the remuneration of any trade, profession, employment, vocation or other occupation included in the statement.
6. —(1) As soon as may be after a registration date, each Clerk shall, as respects that date, establish a register (which shall be known as the Register of Interests of Members of Dáil Éireann or the Register of Interests of Members of Seanad Éireann, as may be appropriate, followed, in each case, by a reference to the year in which the registration date concerned occurs).
(2) When a statement is furnished to a Clerk under subsection (1) or (2) of section 5 —
(a) he or she shall, within 60 days after the registration date to which it relates or as soon as may be thereafter, enter it or a copy of it in the register established as respects that date by that Clerk under subsection (1), and
(b) if the statement is that of a Minister of the Government or a Minister of State, furnish a copy of it to the Taoiseach, as soon as may be.
(3) Each Clerk shall, within 60 days after each registration date or as soon as may be thereafter, furnish to the Commission and cause to be laid before Dáil Éireann or Seanad Éireann, as may be appropriate, and published in Iris Oifigiúil a copy of the register established by him or her under subsection (1) in relation to that registration date.
(4) (a) Each Clerk may correct errors in the register established by that Clerk or amend such a register to take account of statements furnished to him or her under section 29 (1) in so far as they relate to registrable interests.
(b) A Clerk shall, as soon as may be after the correction of an error under paragraph (a) or the receipt by him or her of a statement referred to in paragraph (a)—
(i) cause a statement of the correction or a copy of the statement referred to in paragraph (a), as the case may be, to be laid before the House and published in Iris Oifigiúil, and
(ii) if either of those statements relates to a Minister or Minister of State, furnish a copy of it to the Taoiseach.
Declarations of interest by members in Oireachtas proceedings.
7. —(1) This section applies to proceedings in each House, a committee of either House or a joint committee of both Houses.
(2) A member who proposes to speak or vote in proceedings to which this section applies and who has actual knowledge that he or she or a connected person has a material interest in the subject matter of the proceedings shall—
(a) if he or she proposes to speak in the proceedings, make a declaration of the fact aforesaid in the proceedings before or during his or her speech, and
(b) if he or she proposes to vote, but does not speak, in the proceedings, make the declaration aforesaid in writing and furnish it before voting to the Clerk, or the clerk to the committee, concerned, as may be appropriate.
(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), a person (being a member or a connected person) has a material interest in the subject matter of proceedings if the consequence or effect of any decision by the House or the committee or joint committee concerned, or by the Government or an office holder, concerning that matter may be to confer on or withhold from the person a significant benefit without also conferring it on or withholding it from persons in general or a class of persons which is of significant size having regard to all the circumstances and of which the person is a member.
(4) Subsection (2) does not apply to an interest of a member that is included in a statement which or a copy of which has been laid before the House under section 6 .
(5) A declaration under subsection (2) shall—
(a) in case an official report of the proceedings concerned is published, be included in the report, and
(b) in case such a report is not published, be published in such manner as the Clerk, or the clerk to the committee, concerned may direct.
Appointment of, and complaints to, Committees.
8. —(1) Each House shall as soon as may be after the commencement of this section and, thereafter, as soon as may be after the first meeting of that House subsequent to a general election for members of that House appoint a select committee which shall be known—
(a) in the case of the committee appointed by Dáil Éireann as the Committee on Members' Interests of Dáil Éireann, and
(b) in the case of the committee appointed by Seanad Éireann, as the Committee on Members' Interests of Seanad Éireann,
to perform the functions conferred on it by this Act.
(2) A person (other than a member) who considers that a member (other than a member who is or, at the relevant time, was an office holder) may have contravened section 5 or 7 may make a complaint in writing in relation to the matter to the Clerk and, subject to subsection (3), the Clerk shall refer the matter to the Committee and shall furnish a copy of the complaint to the Committee.
(3) The Clerk concerned shall consider a complaint under subsection (2) and, if the Clerk is of opinion that it is frivolous or vexatious, he or she—
(a) shall not refer it to the Committee, and
(b) shall prepare a statement in writing of the reasons for his or her opinion and furnish a copy of it to—
(i) the person who made the complaint,
(ii) the member concerned, and
(iii) the Committee.
(4) A member who considers that a member (other than a member who is or, at the relevant time, was an office holder) may have contravened section 5 or 7 may make a complaint in writing in relation to the matter to the Committee of that House.
(5) A complaint may not be made under this section in respect of a person who has ceased to be a member.
Investigations by Committees.
9. —(1) Where a complaint is referred or made to a Committee under section 8 , or a Committee considers it appropriate to do so in the case of a member (other than a member who is or, at the relevant time, was an office holder), it shall carry out an investigation to determine whether the member concerned has contravened section 5 or 7 , as the case may be.
(2) Where a Committee, either during or at the conclusion of an investigation under this section, becomes of opinion that the member the subject of the investigation has not contravened the section of this Act to which the investigation relates, being either section 5 or 7 , but may have contravened the other of those sections, it may carry out an investigation under this section to determine whether the person has contravened that other section.
(a) a complaint is referred or made to a Committee under section 8 , or the Committee is carrying out an investigation under this section whether following such a complaint or otherwise, and
(b) at any time before the Committee has complied with section 10 in relation thereto, the person the subject of the complaint or investigation ceases to be a member,
(i) the Committee shall take no steps or no further steps in relation to the matter unless the person requests the Committee in writing to carry out an investigation of the matter under subsection (1) or, as the case may be, complete such an investigation, and
(ii) if the Committee is so requested as aforesaid, it shall, subject to section 31 , comply with the request.
(4) Subject to subsection (3), a Committee shall not carry out an investigation under this section in relation to—
(a) a person who has ceased to be a member, or
(b) a person who is or, at the relevant time, was an office holder.
(a) in relation to a person who is a member but is not an office holder, a complaint had been, or been deemed to be, referred or made to a Committee, or a matter that a Committee had considered it appropriate to investigate had been, or been deemed to be, otherwise before it,
(b) following a dissolution of Dáil Éireann, the Committee has ceased to exist, and
(c) the Committee had neither—
(i) complied with section 10 in relation to the complaint or matter, nor
(ii) discontinued the investigation of the complaint pursuant to section 31 ,
the complaint or matter shall be deemed, for the purposes of this section, to have been referred or made under section 8 to, or, as the case may be, to be before, the Committee of the House of which the person is a member, and this section shall apply and have effect accordingly in relation to the complaint or matter.
Reports by Committees.
(a) shall furnish a copy of the report to the member concerned and, if the investigation followed a complaint under section 8 , the person who made the complaint, and
(2) A report under subsection (1) shall set out the findings of the Committee concerned together with its determination in relation to the following matters, namely—
(b) in case the determination is that there has not been a contravention of section 5 or 7 by the member, whether the Committee is of opinion that the complaint was frivolous or vexatious or that there were no reasonable grounds for it, and
(i) if the determination is that the contravention is continuing, the steps required to be taken by him or her to secure compliance by him or her with section 5 or 7 , as the case may be, and the period of time within which such steps should be taken,
(ii) whether the contravention was committed inadvertently, negligently, recklessly or intentionally,
(iii) whether the contravention was, in all the circumstances, a serious or a minor contravention, and
(iv) whether the member acted in good faith and in the belief that his or her action was in accordance with guidelines published or advice given in writing by a Committee under section 12 ,
and may refer to such other matters, if any, as the Committee considers appropriate.
(3) Where a Committee adjourns or postpones proceedings in relation to an investigation under section 9 , it may, if it considers it appropriate to do so, prepare an interim report in writing in relation to the investigation and furnish a copy thereof to the persons specified in subsection (1) (a).
Award of costs by Committees.
11. —(1) (a) Where, following an investigation by a Committee under section 9 of a complaint referred or made to it under section 8 , the Committee determines that the complaint was frivolous or vexatious or that there has not been a contravention of section 5 or 7 and that there were no reasonable grounds for the complaint, it may order that such amount (not exceeding £1,500) as it considers appropriate, having regard to all the circumstances, in respect of the reasonable costs and expenses incurred by any person before it (including costs and expenses in respect of legal representation) in relation to the investigation shall be paid to that person by the person who made the complaint.
(b) Where, in relation to an investigation under section 9 , amounts are ordered to be paid under paragraph (a) to more than one person, the aggregate of those amounts shall not exceed £1,500.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), a Committee may measure the costs and expenses aforesaid.
(3) Any costs or expenses ordered by a Committee under subsection (1) to be paid by a person may be recovered from that person by the person to whom they are ordered to be paid as a simple contract debt in any court of competent jurisdiction.
Guidelines and advice from Committees.
12. —(1) A Committee—
(a) shall, after consultation with the Commission and the other Committee, from time to time draw up and publish to members guidelines concerning the steps to be taken by members to ensure compliance by them with this Act generally and, in particular, with sections 5 and 7 , and
(2) When a request is made under subsection (1) (b) in relation to a particular case, the section concerned of this Act shall not, as respects the member who made the request, apply in relation to that case during the period from the making of the request to the time when advice is given by a Committee in relation to the case or it declines to give such advice.
(3) A Committee shall, within 21 days of the receipt by it of a request for advice under subsection (1) (b), furnish the advice to the member concerned or notify him or her of its decision to decline to do so.
(4) A person shall act in accordance with guidelines and advice published or given to the person under this section unless, by so doing, the act concerned would constitute a contravention of another provision of this Act.
(5) In this section “member” does not include a member who is an office holder.