Costello welcomes confirmation that Dáil privilege is unaffected by court order

2 June 2015

by Cllr Joe Costello

I welcome the statement by Mr Justice Donald Binchy today that the High Court order preventing the publication of information about Denis O’Brien’s financial dealings was not intended to prohibit reporting of Oireachtas proceedings.

Oireachtas privilege is a cornerstone of our parliamentary democracy, and it is essential that TDs and Senators are able to freely raise matters that may be in the public interest.  If matters raised in the Dáil and Seanad cannot be reported upon, then our parliamentary democracy would be undermined.  Constitutional entitlement to privilege is paramount for Oireachtas members, and today’s statement by Justice Binchy confirms that the media may report all statements made in the Dáil and Seanad.   

 I had argued that, in the first instance, the appropriate forum for dealing with these matters was the High Court, and I am pleased that Justice Binchy has clarified the matter.