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Ireland as a case study
Author: Gavin Barrett

The role of national parliaments in the European Union (EU) has developed considerably over time. This book focuses on one parliament as a case study in this regard: the national parliament of Ireland, the Oireachtas. The basic structure of that parliament is modelled on that of the United Kingdom. Like the United Kingdom, Ireland joined the then European Communities on 1 January 1973. Within a relatively short period from the date of Ireland's joining the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, it became clear that major structural change to the Communities would be needed if the EEC were ever to fulfil its potential. The book examines the initial adaptations of its parliament to European integration and how Ireland's domestic parliamentary accommodation of membership slowly changed over time. It focuses on the considerable impact on domestic parliamentary arrangements of the recent banking and foreign debt crises and of the Treaty of Lisbon. An assessment of the role of the Oireachtas in European law and policy during the lifetimes of the 30th Dail (2007-11) and the 31st Dail (2011-16) follows. The book discusses the formation of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs, which held its first meeting in private on 19 July 2016, and its first public meeting on 7 September. However, Ireland's position as a "slow adaptor" to European integration has meant that the Oireachtas has had more ground to make up than many other legislatures.

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An overview of the role of the Oireachtas in European Union affairs
Gavin Barrett

Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore, to the Seanad towards the end of 2013 of his view that there is a comprehensive legislative framework in place that is largely fit for purpose, subject to some technical adjustments to reflect the role of sectoral committees in the scrutiny of statutory instruments. However, while statutory instruments are being laid in the Oireachtas Library, Oireachtas committees do not receive the texts directly. Therefore, there is scope for improvement. Equally, there may be scope to improve the information provided for committees to help them to

in The evolving role of national parliaments in the European Union
Catalysts for reform of the Oireachtas role in European Union affairs
Gavin Barrett

, made provision for a medium-​term budgetary objective and a budgetary correction mechanism; and established an independent Irish Fiscal Advisory Council.16 Not all Oireachtas-​approved constitutional changes related to the crisis were successful, however. Two bailout-​era proposals concerning the Oireachtas itself failed. The Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution (Houses of the Oireachtas Inquiries) Bill 2011 which sought to increase considerably the investigative powers of Oireachtas committees was defeated in referendum in October 2011.17 Subsequently, the Thirty

in The evolving role of national parliaments in the European Union
Reflections on how the role of the Irish parliament in European affairs might be improved
Gavin Barrett

some new ideas of its own. Report of the Sub-​Committee on Ireland’s Future in the European Union Following the referendum rejection of the Twenty-​eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2008, designed to facilitate ratification of the Lisbon Treaty,7 the Sub-​Committee on Ireland’s Future in the EU was established as a Sub-​ Committee of both the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Scrutiny. Chaired by opposition Senator Paschal Donohoe, its purpose was considering the referendum results’ implications

in The evolving role of national parliaments in the European Union
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Eliciting a response from the Irish parliament to European integration
Gavin Barrett

preparation or thought given to the topic under discussion. The emphasis on constituency work is also reflected in limited sittings. In 2015, the Seanad sat for only 106 days, and the Dáil for only 118.14 Moreover, as elections approach in the second half of a parliamentary term, parliamentarians’ focus on policy and legislative work declines,15 resulting, e.g., in worsened attendance at Oireachtas committees. Even within the realm of policy work, the attention of parliamentarians can be divided. An Oireachtas member will frequently be a member of more than one committee

in The evolving role of national parliaments in the European Union
Sonja Tiernan

include ‘married families, families that rely on the care of children by members of the extended family, families based on cohabiting couples and [significantly for same-sex couples] civil partnerships’.12 Additionally, the bill sought to address children born through assisted human reproduction and surrogacy. Within weeks, Shatter published the heads of bill; this was a legislative change that he had personally worked on introducing. The Children and Family Relationships Bill went to the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Justice for pre-legislative hearings. In its

in The history of marriage equality in Ireland
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Bernadette Connaughton

regulatory review. However, charging for domestic water services was suspended altogether in an amendment Act in 2016 following a general election which eventually led to the establishment of a minority Fine Gael government. Water charges was a key campaigning issue, especially for the small left parties and Fianna Fáil also endorsed the removal of water charges though their message was inconsistent. The Water Services Bill 2017 facilitated the recommendations of the report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water

in The implementation of environmental policy in Ireland
The democratic coda
Ben Tonra

public funds. Policy actors and structures: the democratic coda In 1990 one former Minister for Foreign Affairs described the Oireachtas as being ‘the least developed legislature in the European Community’ and noted that it was unique in Europe in having no parliamentary committee to consider foreign affairs (Dáil 396: 1638). The 1974 establishment of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Secondary Legislation of the European Communities had been the first parliamentary foray into what might be described as foreign policy and this was only the second Joint Oireachtas

in Global citizen and European Republic
Gavin Barrett

policy matters. Using sectoral committees is a widely-​employed means of involving large numbers of parliamentarians in European affairs. An early mechanism for involving sectoral committees in European scrutiny in Ireland was seen in the 30th Dáil period, when the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Scrutiny enjoyed the power to refer draft European laws to sectoral committees for further scrutiny. Little success was experienced in engaging other parliamentarians in scrutiny by using this method, however68 (leading to the introduction of mainstreaming in the 31st

in The evolving role of national parliaments in the European Union
A historical and contemporary analysis
Eilís Ward

Oireachtas (hereafter HoO) Report of Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality on hearings and submissions on the review of prostitution legislation (2013). Available at: (accessed 2 September 2021). 2 HoO, Report of Joint Committee

in Legacies of the Magdalen Laundries