Parliamentary privilege not a personal matter

SENATOR Terry Leyden (Letters, February 28) is correct in saying TDs and senators should avail of parliamentary privilege in their “duty in the Oireachtas to fight for, and to be a voice for, those whom we represent”.

But we are not talking about parliamentary privilege being used by the Taoiseach to fight for, and to a be voice for, those he represents.

Senator Leyden did not tackle a key point I raised (Letters, February 27): what the Taoiseach is suggesting is that parliamentary privilege can be bent to such a degree to protect a TD or senator from due investigation in relation to personal conduct.

This would be a gross corruption of the purpose of parliamentary privilege. It would not be an invocation for “protection of the democratic process”, as stated by Justice Denham of Article 15.13 of the constitution, but rather solely for protection of the individual TD.

Members of the Oireachtas should not invoke parliamentary privilege in relation to personal business raised by them in the Dáil (ie, statements relating to personal matters that were made by, for example, Liam Lawlor, Ray Burke, Bertie Ahern, et al). That should be an obvious code of practice endorsed by the Taoiseach (and Senator Leyden).

John Kennedy



Dublin 14

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