Senator Sean Barrett Press Release on the DoB/Catherine Murphy issue

Press release from the independent Senator

Sen. Sean D. Barrett

Independent, University of Dublin (Trinity College) Constituency, Seanad Éireann

 

I note today the ongoing controversy over statements made in Dáil Éireann by Deputy Catherine Murphy on the 28th of May 2015. While I make no comment on the statements of Deputy Catherine Murphy I will state that the current approach taken to reporting, even verbatim and without any form of commentary her statements in the Dáil is a matter for deep concern. Under Article 15, sections 12 and 13 of Bunreacht na hÉireann the utterances and the reproduction of those utterances are protected by parliamentary privilege. The actual text is below:

 12 All official reports and publications of the Oireachtas or of either House thereof and utterances made in either House wherever published shall be privileged.
 13 The members of each House of the Oireachtas shall, except in case of treason as defined in this Constitution, felony or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest in going to and returning from, and while within the precincts of, either House, and shall not, in respect of any utterance in either House, be amenable to any court or any authority other than the House itself.

I call on the Attorney General to clarify the present interpretation of the above sections with respect to the statements made by Deputy Catherine Murphy on the 28th of May 2015. I would further recommend that the various media organizations and outlets governed by the legal principles outlined in Bunreacht na hÉireann not shirk their responsibility to maintain an informed citizenry, the cornerstone of any mature and functional democracy.

 

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