SIPO powerless to investigate whether TD broke rules over World Cup tickets

The ethics watchdog has said it is powerless to investigate whether a TD on the Oireachtas’ Sports Committee broke any rules when he obtained World Cup final tickets through the FAI.

SIPO powerless to investigate whether TD broke rules over World Cup tickets

The ethics watchdog has said it is powerless to investigate whether a TD on the Oireachtas’ Sports Committee broke any rules when he obtained World Cup final tickets through the FAI.

Standards in Public Office Commission said it has “no role in overseeing the conduct of members of the Oireachtas” if they are not a Minister or Minister for State.

The chair of the Oireachtas committee that oversees a code of conduct for TDs said it has yet to receive any complaints on the incident.

SIPO’s statement comes amid calls for Fianna Fáil TD Kevin O’Keeffe to remove himself from the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport when it questions the FAI on its corporate governance on April 10.

Mr O’Keeffe admitted that he and a friend bought two tickets for last summer’s World Cup final with the help of the FAI, who sourced the much sought-after tickets for him.

Fellow committee member and Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy has said the advantage afforded to Mr O’Keeffe by the FAI presents a conflict of interest, and as such he should stand down from the committee.

In a statement, SIPO said it oversees the ethics rules that apply to office holders such as Ministers, Ministers of State, ministerial advisors and senior civil and public servants - but not TDs.

“Ethics rules that apply to members of the Dail or Seanad that are not office holders are overseen by the relevant Committee on Members Interests,” SIPO said.

“Specifically, the sections of the Ethics in Public Office Act that apply to members of the Oireachtas, as well as the Code of Conduct for members of Dail Eireann are the responsibility of the Committee on Members Interests for Dáil Eireann.

“The Standards Commission has no role in overseeing the conduct of members of the Oireachtas who are not officeholders,” it said.

The Committee on Members Interests for Dáil Eireann is chaired by Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey.

It considers the complaints about TDs which are submitted by members of the public to the Clerk of the Dáil.

Ms Bailey said it had not received any complaints about the issue to date.

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