The members of the 2014 Public Accounts Committee are refusing to accept responsibility for the difficulties experienced by Angela Kerins.
The former CEO of the Rehab Group claims the line of questioning adopted by the committee during a hearing she attended was beyond its remit.
Last week, the court heard that Ms Kerins tried to take her own life because of the fallout from a seven-hour hearing she attended before PAC in Feb 2014.
She accused the committee of entrapping her and asking her questions about her €240k salary and other matters she considered “wholly private”.
Paul Gallagher, senior counsel for the PAC members, began his defence of the action this morning.
He opened by saying his clients are “clearly conscious of and sympathetic to difficulties experienced by Angela Kerins”.
He said they did not intend to make things more difficult for her but added that they did not accept responsibility for her difficulties.
He said the case put forward by his opposite number seeks to extend the court’s control over Dáil committees in an unprecedented way and ignores the absolute privilege that protects Oireachtas debate.
In reference to her attempt to have her name removed from the public record, he said to do so would lead to a situation where “speech is not free anymore”.
The hearing continues.