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Thursday 30 May 2013

Irish Oireachtas parliamentary petition system

been keeping on eye on this on Politics.ie some of this was written on 13th September 2012

so they are setting up a petitioning system The Oireachtas :: Online Petitions

which a committee might do something about or not, they say

  • refer the petition to any other Committee as it considers appropriate, with a request for further consideration and report back to the Committee;
  • report to the Dáil/Seanad with recommendations, including a request that the report be debated by the Dáil/Seanad;
  • request the Petitioner to attend a meeting and address the Committee in seeking further clarity/understanding on the Petition in hand;
  • refer the petition to the Ombudsman, another Ombudsman or a regulatory public body or a body established for the purpose of redress.

I think some of the members of the committee visited Scotland to see how their system worked and which they agreed to aim for similar Scottish Parliament which allows you create a petition on their site and collect signatures there and discuss the issue, and have the signees be updated by email on the progress of the petitions. this is what we got
Basically they made an online form, where you can upload 1 excel file or scans of your petition and signatures. Unlike the other petitions sites where people can add their signatures online. Not requiring a minimum number of signatures is good I guess but it means the system hasn't got much notice.

Compare with WethePeople and HM Government e-petitions.

The committee has met 4 times in a year and half, this weak effort I think does not bode well for them or us.

A petition is admissible if it:

  • relates to matters on which the Houses of the Oireachtas have the power to act;
  • complies with Standing Orders and is in proper form;
  • is not sub-judice, i.e. does not relate to a case where court proceedings have been initiated and which is to be heard before a jury or is then being heard before a jury;
  • does not contain the name or names of individuals;
  • does not contain language which is offensive or defamatory;
  • ]is not the same as, or is not in substantially similar terms to, a petition brought by or on behalf of the same person, body corporate or unincorporated association during the lifetime of that Dáil/Seanad and which was closed by agreement of the Committee;
  • is not frivolous, vexatious or otherwise does not constitute an abuse of the petitions system;
  • does not require the Committee to consider an individual complaint which has been the subject of a decision by the Ombudsman, by another Ombudsman, or by a regulatory public body or a body established for the purpose of redress.

I scraped the petitions together with scraperwiki and then manually add in the corresponding the committee discussions and videos here to make them easier to follow, This should be done by the Oireachtas themselves to make it possible to follow. Petitions Spreadsheet and wrote a note of what "action" they've taken.

You can find the committee transcripts and videos.

18th January 2013

51 submitted, almost all by individuals, 20 address by committee, responding to most by sending letters to the department and shelving the issue for up to 6 months eg 21/Nov/2012 Decisions on Public Petitions Received

Only 2 more petitions looked at since I last looked, plus they decided to close another one on microwave transmission illness, if there is such a thing, they will be a WHO report on it in... 2014 and they were closing the petition, when they looked at it previously they noted the gov had promised in 2007 to research the issue, they said they'd write to the department to see what had happened to that promise, I would have liked to have heard the dept response on the record, these are the sort of issues that are going to come up in petitions why not tackle it head on rather then dismiss or delay response.

They've looked at half the petitions in committee so far but most of the rest the petitions have been there for months with no response.

Tried to display the progress in chart


Edward Horgan's petition about use of Shannon Airport by US military and CIA is 3rd longest awaiting first hearing at Oireachtas committee, 234 days since November 20th 2012

2nd is one enda kenny #should implement' equality budgeting and the first a petition about gardai misconduct and wrongful arrest. figured numbers here

One of the petitions I followed with interest was petition about Open access to publicly-funded research reports submitted by Dr Ciarán Mc Mahon

First Discussion
Second Discussion

The progress of a policy of open access had been continuing while the committee was in operation and national principles for open access policy was published after the petition was received. "The National Steering Committee on Open Access Policy I tried to find out where progress was being reported but they haven't setup a website for it as yet. Update July 2013 Asked again and still not public update of work progress. Can it be said that this petition has been satisfied?

Update Website for the National Steering Committee on Open Access Policy in Ireland October 2013

Updating Petitions Spreadsheet at early May 2013

Other discussion about it Boards.ie and reddit


dublinstreams said...

Petitions Committee to consider Employment Appeals Tribunal process http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/mediazone/pressreleases/name-17732-en.html

dublinstreams said...

‘Joe Public’ to attend Oireachtas committee to explain his petition http://www.thejournal.ie/oireachtas-petition-back-to-education-allowance-956041-Jun2013/