Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Government Members' Interests.

Tuesday, 28 February 1989

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 387 No. 7

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2.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  asked the Taoiseach the guidelines, if any, which were issued to members of his Government on taking office, regarding involvement in firms in which they or their families may have a financial interest; the measures which are taken to ensure that these guidelines are adhered to; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

3.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  asked the Taoiseach if any Minister or Minister of State in his Government currently holds company directorships on (a) a remunerative basis and (b) a non-remunerative basis; the Ministers or Ministers of State who, on taking office, informed him that they were resigning company directorships; the directorships from which they resigned; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I propose to take Questions Nos. 2 and 3 together.

In accordance with the practice of successive Administrations over many years, Ministers and Ministers of State were [1587] informed, officially and individually, on taking up office, that they should not engage in activities that could reasonably be regarded as interfering or being incompatible with the duties of their offices; and that Ministers should draw to the attention of Government any matter before Government in which they or their family have a material interest, and should not participate in decision-making in the matter unless the Government decide otherwise.

The Ministers and Ministers of State concerned resigned their directorships on taking up office. Minister of State, Deputy Frank Fahey, who submitted a letter of resignation as director of a company in March 1987 is, however, still nominally registered as a director of the company which ceased trading almost two years ago, having discharged all its liabilities.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  I thank the Taoiseach for his reply to Questions Nos. 2 and 3. May I ask him if there is any procedure the Taoiseach follows to ensure adherence to the guidelines. I appreciate that guidelines exist? Is there any procedure whereby a Minister or Minister of State is obliged to inform the Government with regard to directorships held, whether remunerative or non-remunerative, and if he holds a register of such interests?

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  The procedure is that all Ministers are informed of the requirement and it is left to their judgment to comply with that requirement. I do not keep any note or register of ministerial interests.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  Would the Taoiseach not agree that it would be in the best interests of all concerned if such a register was kept and if Ministers and Ministers of State were not only informed of the principles which exist but also be placed under an obligation to make known, at least to the Taoiseach, their interests and whether they had disposed of them?

[1588]The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I am quite sure any Minister would regard himself or herself as being honour bound to inform the Taoiseach of anything they thought might in any way affect this issue, but subject to that, as I said, the procedure is laid down, everybody is informed of the position and what they must do, and after that they are expected to adhere to it. That has been the way for a long time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Ceist a 4.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  Finally, may I ask the Taoiseach——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  A very brief question Deputy. I have given you some latitude on this question.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  Is the Taoiseach satisfied that the system is operating correctly and that there is no likelihood of a conflict of interest in any case——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  We are having repetition at this stage.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  I am asking the Taoiseach if he is satisfied that the system is operating effectively and correctly.

The Taoiseach: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Yes. I have no reason to believe that it is not. I will avail of this opportunity to remind everybody again of the obligations. As the Deputy knows, there is always a possibility of the resignation of a directorship or something of that nature which might not necessarily be followed through as a formality. In order to ensure that there is no question of anything of that nature occurring, I shall see that the instruction is again brought to everybody's attention.


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