1. The Committee to decide if an issue of public interest needs to be investigated by the Oireachtas will be chaired by an Opposition member to ensure political impartiality and that decisions are not just made by the Government. The success of the Public Accounts Committee in uncovering the Fás debacle in 2008, which was chaired by the opposition, is proof how this can work effectively.
2. A cost effective and efficient procedure – to date Tribunals of Inquiries have cost €315 million (€243 million legal costs) many of which have lasted many years. In 1999 the DIRT Inquiry, which these new proposals are based upon, was successfully concluded in seven weeks.
3. Ireland is virtually alone among democratic societies in not having parliamentary powers of investigation. For example with our closest neighbours in the UK, MPs were allowed to investigate the recent Murdoch phone tapping scandal and in the US, Senate Committees are used regularly to investigate matters of public concern.
4. The continuance of Judicial Protection. Despite amendmending the constitution, the court system will still have a role to play in providing guidance on procedural rights. Furthermore, individuals will still be in a position to apply to the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides similar guarantees to the Irish Constitution.